Let's be honest. As much as we like to think of ourselves as uncritical, as much as we hope to be concerned with what's on the inside and not on the outside, we're massive failures. We've been raised in a culture where looks matter, and it's hard to maneuver around that.
I'm riding the train right now with a woman who, ten years ago, would have been the perfect candidate for Extreme Makeover. Her chin is virtually non-existent. I look across the train and imagine what a little nip-tuck work would do, and I want to slap myself. My God, Mollie. Who do you think you are?
And just to compound my feelings of guilt at my shallow judgements against this woman, I catch a glimpse of the book she's reading: Dying Well.
For all I know, the woman sharing her train ride with me could be dying of cancer--or God only knows what. How stupid of me to suggest, even to myself, that she'd benefit from a little cosmetic help.
On days like today, especially, when life seems just a little more precious, just a bit more fleeting, the reality checks seem to hit me at all sides. Shame on me and my simple-minded foolishness.
So for her sake and mine, I hope my neighbor on the train is well and fulfilled and perfectly joyful about the life she's been given. She'll never know it, but she just taught me a very important lesson: live well and love the life you have right now.