NATURE | NURTURE
“I just wanted you to know that I didn’t always look so very terrible.”
I look up from playing and it surprises me. The woman quietly saying this is undeniably beautiful. With fine aristocratic features, she possesses a distinguished elegance to her entire comportment. She has an easy understated approach to her make-up and hair. She also understands that pale porcelain skin, straight shoulder-length flaxen blonde and piercing blue eyes only require a tasteful mink stole and a strand of simple pearls to complement. She is alone.
“I have been sick for a very long time and this is the first night I’ve gone out in two years.”
I don’t ask for details. I don’t need to know the specifics. I tell her she looks wonderful. And that I hope the evening was perfect. She tips me a twenty and I thank her for listening. She nods slowly and walks out of the restaurant. Not before glancing back one last time.
As I transition from Night and Day into I’ve Got You Under My Skin, I am deeply moved by a stranger’s need to share a very intimate insecurity. Had she said nothing at all, my impression of her would not have been any different.
We are all very much aware that we need to have compassion for others. To bear each other’s burdens. To love others as ourselves. To forgive one another. But this chance encounter made me wonder how often I practice these acts of generosity for myself and on myself.
Remarkably, I am my own worst enemy, the harshest critic if my failings and the most deprecating of my abilities.
The final song in my Cole Porter medley is I Get a Kick Out of You. And I realize that although naturally imperfect, I am perfectly made through the nurture of a greater hand. My thrills and validation do not have to come from external forces like champagne, cocaine or planes. I can stand before myself in the higher internal spirit of patience and comfort, well-equipped by grace to serve my own emotional needs, in order to BE of better service.
I just wanted you to know that I didn’t always feel so very secure. I had been ashamed of who I was for a very long time and this is the first day of many more that I will continue to go out with joy, love and peace.