This morning I went to the hair salon—something I rarely do anymore. I preach self-care to my clients every day but in the hustle of life, I often forget how much I need to slow down and take time for myself. So today I did.
As I was sitting waiting for my color to process I put my phone down for a moment (something else I need to do more of). And I watched. I watched a salon full of women–some laughing together, others telling stories. Some were working, others sitting quietly enjoying being cared for. Some women were on their phones as they sat under the dryers. Many were staring into mirrors. I kept watching. These women, they all had different skin tones, different hair colors, different body sizes and different styles. Ages ranged from young to old. Some wore sneakers, others black heels. Some with faces made-up, others with skin bare. Some were smiling, others concentrating. Most—unaware I was watching them (I hope!).
And in that moment, I realized something so simple yet so powerful—I thought these women were all absolutely beautiful. Every single one of them. They all looked remarkably different from one another but they were fascinating and unique and beautiful. I don’t why in that moment I was struck by this. And I’m not going to over think it because truth is, it was one of the most freeing moments I’ve ever had and I don’t want to ruin it with too much thought.
For that moment, everyone’s uniqueness, their differences, maybe even their otherwise perceived flaws made them extraordinary to me. And then I realized—if I was so struck in this moment by my observations, then I am clearly not allowing myself to observe this enough. I must not be capturing enough moments to recognize and appreciate the beauty in the people around me. And not the physical beauty. I don’t care about that. But the beauty that comes from our differences, the beauty that comes from those sometimes-unnoticed characteristics that set us apart from anyone else. Those differences that God provided us that are so precious yet so under-appreciated. And that’s when I smiled. (Which likely looked odd to anyone who may have been watching me). I smiled because that’s what happens when we see something beautiful we haven’t seen before. There’s a refreshing joy when we are privileged enough to travel out of our ordinary to see the extraordinary. Sometimes that’s the mountains of Colorado, or the Florida beaches, the Pyramids in Egypt or the Greek ruins. Or sometimes that’s noticing the way your father’s eyes radiate kindness when he smiles. Or when it dawns on you how your best friend never forgets to tell you she loves you when you hang up the phone. Or when it strikes you how someone you have never met and may never meet walks with confidence out of a hair salon on a Friday morning.
There’s a lot of ugly in this world. There’s a lot of mundane. But if we pay attention, there is so much beauty.
I pray that we all live fiercely. That we share our differences, honor our uniqueness and take every opportunity we can to notice the beauty in the people around us.
Go to the hair salon. Put down your phones. And look. It’s beautiful.