On Being Polished
With fresh highlights and my frizzy hair blown out straight and styled, I sat in the massage chair at the nail salon. An HGTV show played on the big screen tv, and a mother and daughter sat in the chairs in front of me sipping champaign and talking while getting pedicures. I felt a little strange being out and about for an extended amount of time without Oliver, my 3 year old son, by my side.
It was August, and yet it was the first time all year I had finally gotten my hair done. Then to top it off I got my nails done for the first time all year too. I keep my nails short and unpainted. To be honest, if I had the money, I think I would LOVE getting my nails done more often.
It makes me feel polished.
And if you know me, that is a laugh. My hair portrays me better! Curly, frizzy, often a little unkempt looking.
The truth is if there are parts of my life that look polished and put together, it is often God's gracious provision.
The peonies planted in my yard by the previous owner, organized make-up drawer: my best friend tipping me off to the book recommendation The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I even remember in high school my cheer coach kindly and graciously suggested I might try getting my eye brows waxed. Laughs! In middle school, there was the friend that LOVED to clean out my locker. Lord bless her!
That day at the nail salon it happened to be my Birthday. My mom offered to watch Oliver and treat me to a manicure and pedicure.
Slowly tuning out the sound of the tv and chatter across the room, I began to rest, to relax, and listen to the music playing in the background. The instrumental piano music floated and flowed softly and melodically.
I thought, oh the owner must be Christian (or catering to Christians) because the first song was Amazing Grace. Next song was Come thou Fount.
I love hymns.
Then the hymns were followed by an instrumental piano version of the Little Mermaid's theme song "Part of Your World""
Look at this stuffIsn't it neat?Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?Wouldn't you think I'm the girlThe girl who has everything?Look at this troveTreasures untoldHow many wonders can one cavern hold?Looking around here you thinkSure, she's got everythingI've got gadgets and gizmos a-plentyI've got whozits and whatzits galoreYou want thingamabobs?
"I wanna be where the people are, I wanna see, wanna see them dance'n."
Yes, I know all the words and love it!
That day/moment was a bit of whimsical, lovely provision that may not have had the same effect on others as it had on me. I appreciated all the details immensely. It was a treat to feel polished & pretty; nails and hair!
Recently, I read Looking for Lovely: Collecting Moments that Matter by Annie Downs. It was my favorite book of the Summer. One chapter is entitled "Nail Polish". Annie writes about how her fingernails are a gauge of sorts, indicating how her soul is doing. She struggles with nail biting, and loves painting her nails. When her nails are bitten down and chipped, it usually means there is some struggle or issue going on in her soul. So she writes
"I take my nail polish situation pretty seriously. Which may sound silly to you, and I'm okay with that. But that's the thing about looking for lovely around you- what you find beautiful may not be what I find beautiful. The moments you collect that will help you finish the thing you've started may not be moments that matter to me.
Oh the beauty of humans who are allowed to be creatively different, yes?"
For me, I can't say polished perfected nails reflect my personal and mental health like Annie. However, I do relate to the way beauty strengthens her soul, even the little bits of beauty like pastel painted nails.
And I keep finding the grace of God's provision is always at the root of this beauty. And so I give thanks.
all my confusion He understood,
all I had to offer Him is brokenness and strife,
but He made something beautiful out of my life.
Offer God your "frizzy hair", your "chipped nails", your "scattered thoughts",
and be joyfully surprised to find beautiful springing up from the ground
growing all around.
Then cut the flowers at your feet, put them in a vase
and offer them to a friend.