Monday, June 10, 2013

See Beautiful Woman of the Month: Michelle Perry

Virtually meeting Michelle Perry through her beautiful blog, Gospel of Goose, has impacted the way we see beautiful in myriad ways. Her writing consistently gives readers reason to smile, laugh, give and love. Beyond her blog, and diving into the Michelle Perry we've grown to look up to and see beautiful through, she encapsulates a "See Beautiful Woman of the Month." She is a Pastor, a Teacher, a Giver, a Friend, a Sister, a Cook, a Gardner, a Bee Whisperer, a Cliff Jumper, a Whale Rider, a Mentor, a Pet Lover, a Writer, a Photographer, a Comedian, and best of all a Fighter for equity, empowerment and care. It is such an honor to celebrate Michelle and all the ways she sees and creates beautiful in the world. An honor.

See Beautiful Woman of the Month: Michelle Perry
by Michelle Perry
 
How do I see beautiful?  Let me count the ways.  I do believe I could write a book about all the ways I see beautiful, in the mountains that surround me, in the people I meet, in clear mountain streams as well as muddy paw prints on my kitchen floor, in the eyes of my dog, Goose, in the friends I have been richly blessed with in my life.  The list is really endless.  It is my prayer that each of us see and feel beautiful in what surrounds us and what is within us. Part of what I do is work in a homeless shelter.  I have opportunity each day to meet a diverse group of people.  The majority are homeless or on the verge of being homeless.  Beautiful each and every one.  But some do not see the beautiful in these people and those that do not measure up to the world's standards.

One day I was with a group of people and we were headed to a luncheon.  I asked if we could stop at the homeless shelter so I could drop off several donations that had been given to me for the shelter.  As the car pulled on to the road the shelter sits on there was a man sitting with his dog on the curb.  I am always touched by this scene there is something that lights up my heart when I see it.  There was a serenity and beauty about it.  The beauty of this man sitting with his dog made me stop.  
Picture
Picture shared with permission from Michelle Perry.
I was taken in by the pure kindness and obvious love this man and his dog shared.   While the people in the car were motioning to me and giving me "that look" to hurry up, I walked over and talked to the man for a while and petted his sweet companion. 

It struck me in that moment that what I believe came to life.  And then I thought how this image was so Christ-like, so beautiful.  If you took this man and his dog and placed them within the walls of some churches or, heaven forbid, seated at the luncheon I was headed to, you have an image of annoyance and disgust.  The man, and certainly his dog, would not be welcomed into what we call the Lord’s house or a luncheon, filled with people who are dressed more "appropriately"  and with the belief that God gives them his full glory as they are in possession of the dress and “credentials" earned to be in such places.

Maybe this man is not obedient to those things that would "qualify" him to obtain the necessary credentials to allow him to be welcomed and seen as a beautiful creation of God.  Let alone the image of God.  Yet the dog does not seem to care, and she holds nothing back from the man.

Some may see no useful purpose in the man’s life or actions.  And beautiful, forget about it.  Some may judge him for his choices.  If we do notice him, we may see a man in need of saving and a shower, shave, better clothes.   Yet they know nothing of him or his life, for they have not walked in his shoes.  Let alone had a conversation with him.  And that's what I discovered as I got back into the car. 

One person was very annoyed that I had wasted her time by making her wait.  "If we don't get there early we won't get the good seats and we might have to sit next to John (pseudonym).

If she would only look closely enough, not only with her eyes but with her heart, she would see a teacher.  A beautiful teacher that brings awareness of the divine that not only exists within him and the dog but in herself as well.  A reminder of the oneness that we all share, once the layers of a mind caught in the narratives that separate one from the other are stripped away.   Revealing our naked beauty through this man's naked beauty.  What greater gift could this man give, what greater worth could he exhibit?

Moments like that bring me to my knees and the realization that BEAUTIFUL exists within all.  Beautiful does not exist as a matter of appointment, privilege, authority, association, sanctity, dress, or how the world defines beautiful.  Beautiful is in our midst in many forms, speaking in one way to one and to another in another way. From where I sit, this dog and this man are the literal embodiment of beautiful speaking to us directly.  If beautiful is not this, then what is he?

It is my prayer that when people look in to the mirror that they would marvel at how unique and beautiful God makes them, makes you and makes me, makes that homeless man with his dog.  When I think about this I can't help but smile, for God had the foresight to give EACH and everyone a special place in this world.

When I am in perfect sink with God, well even when I'm not, I’m grateful that my looks, my abilities, and my personality are like a special picture frame in which God can portray his grace and beauty, his love, his strength, his faithfulness.   I rejoice that God has gifted me for the special purposes God has in mind for my life.  I thank God for his loving wisdom in allowing the things that have influenced me throughout my life, the things that have prepared my heart to respond to God and live for God's glory.

It was no accident when God made us the way he did.  No, he didn't make a mistake and he wasn't sleeping on the job.  God made each of us with a special purpose, a special mission in life, to live a life that is a praise to him.  Tall order some may say.  But not really.

Take the Sloth, Tapir, Homeless Person, Blob Fish, Aye-aye, Star-Nosed Mole, and the Platypus for example.  I look at the platypus and think….What is the REAL point of a platypus?  I used to joke that after God created all the creatures he had some parts left over and threw them together and BAM, you have the Platypus.  But still, it makes me think of God.  It makes me turn upward and say,

1. God really must have a sense of humor, but

2. As funny as that platypus may look to me…The platypus has just served God's purpose, by having me look up at God and think, “God, why did you create the platypus? Why did you create the universe?  Why did you create me?”

In that same way the platypus is beautiful and was designed to serve God.  That is how you and I were designed;  Not for us to determine ourselves how God will serve us, but how do we serve God so we can use this beautiful plan, this special blueprint called, you, me, us, everyone to share God’s mercy, love and beauty for the world.  Each person born is special.  Each person born is beautiful.  Each born is important.  No matter how big or small a role we may play.

The road that Jeremiah would walk in his life would not be an easy one, for he suffered much abuse at the hands of his fellow Israelites.  I wonder if he ever reflected on these words, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  (Jeremiah 1:5), when he was going through his darkest times? When he was alone in that cold, damp prison cell, did he ever go back to the beginning of his ministry and meditate on God's words to him?  I believe the revelation that he was known by God, and set apart for God's purposes, gave Jeremiah the strength to continue to walk out his destiny, even in the darkest of times.

Knowing that it is God who knew us, and formed us, and called us into life, is the bedrock of our existence.  When everything else around us is not making sense, this truth can give us the grounding that we desperately need to go on. We are all looking for a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.

Before an architect constructs a building, s/he meticulously puts every detail on paper, every component needed to make his/her dream into a reality.  The idea is first conceived in one's mind, then is transferred on paper, and then when everything is just perfect, s/he starts the process of building her/his beautiful creation.

In my own limited understanding of God's creation process, this is how I sometimes imagine it to be.  God first conceived us in his mind, and with great thoughts of love, God began to chart every detail of our DNA in preparation for the time when God would form us in our mother's womb.

What a wonderful thought, to know that the God of the universe knew and knows us intimately.  We are indeed "Beautifully and wonderfully made."

Picture
Image shared with permission from Michelle Perry.
You can connect with Michelle by seeing the amazing work she is a part of at St. Anne's Homeless Shelter - a place full of so much beauty.

You can also enjoy Goose's Gospel HERE

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Are you looking for a for a tangible reminder to see beautiful, or know someone who needs one? Check out our See Beautiful products (and feel good knowing a all proceeds are being donated to Girls With Sole). Learn more HERE.

5 comments:

  1. HEY that's my MOM! Thanks SB for giving her this honor.
    Blessings,
    Goose

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  2. Beautifully stated .. would be great to attend one of Michelle's masses. Once a month, dogs are allowed in her church. Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  3. That was a good post - I agree, I rather would spend more time with the man and his dog than with "appropriate" peeps. Thanks !

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  4. We know her!! And we KNOW she Sees Beautiful! It was because of Michelle and Goose that our pawrents decided they needed me and my handsome brother Stanley! And, this is the best, me and Stanley get to go to church!! First we walk in the doors and Michelle is there and loves on us AND lets us jump ALL OVER her! Then we sit down and listen to her and the band and sometimes Stanley sings. We love Michelle and her boy Goose!

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  5. All Things CollieJune 14, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Wow, that was a very powerful post!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts & helping others see beautiful too!