Saturday, February 26, 2011

Real Beauty Comes From Within

This story comes from Chocolate for a woman’s soul.  I hope that I don't miss out on getting to know anyone because I judged the book by it's cover.

I first met Mary Jane at a women’s interest meeting at someone’s home.  The first thing that struck me was how different she looked from all the rest of us that evening.   Heavy and unshapely, she wore no makeup and had very short, thin hair that lacked any style whatsoever.  She wore what appeared to be a man’s three-piece suit, and definitely didn’t’ look as though she belonged at a women’s group meeting.  We all stared at her.  I’m ashamed to say that afterwards my friends and I tittered with laughter and made unflattering remarks about Mary Jane’s appearance.
I came into contact with Mary Jane again some months later when she joined a professional women’s networking group.  As president of this group, I needed someone to generate our monthly newsletter, and Mary Jane volunteered.  For the next two years, Mary Jane reliably and competently produced our organization’s paper.
From this monthly contact, I got to know the real Mary Jane—not the person she looked like, but the personality beneath the external package.  Witty, compassionate, and honest, she had a wickedly dry sense of humor and called the shots as she saw them.
As I learned more about her, I discovered a happily married woman with three children.  She loved riding her motorcycle in full leathers and volunteered her time to umpire women’s softball.  She was passionate about umpiring, and it came before everything else.  Mary Jane organized her schedule with that as her first priority.  As a talented accountant, she gained many of the members of our professional women’s networking group as clients.  As we all got to know Mary Jane better, we grew to appreciate her eccentricity, discovering that, most of all, she was a loyal supporter and a wonderful friend.
Mary Jane died recently in a tragic scuba diving accident.  It happened so suddenly that it’s hard to believe she’s gone and not coming back.  She died as she lived her life – out on the edge of excitement and challenge.
Her dying leaves me saddened in a fundamental way because knowing her taught me some valuable lessons about what’s important in life and what’s not.  Her way of being is a testament that in this fast-paced world of glitz and glamour, there are far more meaningful things than what I look like or what designer label I wear.  Unfortunately, the media’s view of what I should look like and what’s considered beautiful has nothing to do with reality.
I no longer pay attention to anyone’s looks; I see their core values.  Although Mary Jane has passed on, what she stood for burns brightly in my heart.  Mary Jane gave me her precious gift of authenticity and the courage to disregard others’ opinions of who I should be or how I should look.  She has helped me wipe off the mask of superficiality and not be afraid of being outrageously me!
-Lauren Maser


  1. This is one of life's greatest lessons..not to judge by just never know what is lurking behind...usually something fantastic!

  2. So true, we miss out on wonderful relationships if we judge on appearance. Hard to do though...I'm thinking of that site walmart people!