Musings toward sweetness … and healing
Mma Ramotswe, of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Botswana, Africa, found herself near pushed onto a beauty parlor couch for a free facial treatment, with lemon juice and aloes. Like always Mma’s thoughts caused sweet musings. This time about beauty needing to be both inside and out. And for her the most important thing necessarily began inside, for “you could be very glamorous and beautiful on the outside,” she thought, “but if inside you were filled with human faults — jealousy, spite, and the like — then no amount of exterior beauty would make up for that.”
As her private conversation continues, in Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel — ”The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon” — she thinks there might be a lemon juice for inside beauty … and immediately realizes that “love was the lemon juice that cleansed and kindness was the aloe that healed” (page 80).
Recent offerings in this Salisbury Post made me think of Mma’s musings, for so many contributors have rested their hopes on prayer, on relying on God as Father-Mother for answers and comfort. On love and kindness. And yes their offerings have warmed my heart — making me feel we’re joined together as neighbors who are learning that “jealousy, spite, and the like” do not bring comfort to ourselves. And certainly not to those we’re thinking of.
And at the same time, probably ready to admit that we’re not always filled to the brim with love and running over with kindness. Yet hoping to be ready to push aside judgment that erupts into those jealous and spiteful ways towards ugliness. Perspectives that would exclude our neighbors — near and far — who don’t think quite like we might. Worship as we might.
For some reason this makes me think of the sweetness and beauty and comfort, the innocence, brought to us by animals and birds. Gifts we haven’t earned. And hope that we all — you and me and kids everywhere — will emulate those qualities. Love, that like lemon juice cleanses. Kindness, that like Mma’s aloes heal.
Maybe like the gift of love a swan once gave me and my daughter. An injured foot left the cygnet incapacitated next to the lake trail. Intentionally left by both the heartless and helpless. We couldn’t help ourselves and went back, taking turns stroking her silkiness as we waited for a ride. Ultimately driving a distance to a care center with this elegant calm intelligent creature. I can still feel her presence— a power of kindness and trust. At end of day it wasn’t just about Swan. Not even our hope to save her . . . mostly about a sweet holiness wrapping us up — Swan and hope and urgency — … blessing still these years since. She was somehow the Shepherd preparing a table for us, our cup running over …
So where are my musings going— beyond gratefulness for all those taking time to send their words to the Salisbury Post in honor of a divine Presence, to pray for our and the world’s children? I guess simply to the hope that we’ll truly join each-other-to-each-other to live the love and kindness — the innocence — of butterflies and birds, toddlers and puppies. Our eyes lit with sweetness and joy, maybe even singing in unison:
Quiet, Lord, my froward heart,
Make me gentle, pure, and mild,
Upright, simple, free from art;
Make me as a little child,
From distrust and envy free,
Pleased with all that pleaseth Thee.
— John Newton
Patti Kadick lives in Salisbury. She belongs to the Christian Science church on Statesville Blvd.