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  • Beauty

    There were a sensitivity and a beauty to her that have nothing to do with looks. She was one to be listened to, whose words were so easy to take to heart.

    It is said that the true nature of being is veiled. The labor of words, the expression of art, the seemingly ceaseless buzz that is human thought all have in common the need to get at what really is so. The hope to draw close to and possess the truth of being can be a feverish1 one. In some cases it can even be fatal, if pleasure is one's truth and its attainment2 more important than life itself. In other lives, though, the search for what is truthful3 gives life.

    I used to find notes left in the collection basket, beautiful notes about my homilies and about the writer's thoughts on the daily scriptural readings. The person who penned the notes would add reflections to my thoughts and would always include some quotes from poets and mystics he or she had read and remembered and loved. The notes fascinated me. Here was someone immersed in a search for truth and beauty. Words had been treasured, words that were beautiful. And I felt as if the words somehow delighted in being discovered, for they were obviously very generous to the as yet anonymous4 writer of the notes. And now this person was in turn learning the secret of sharing them. Beauty so shines when given away. The only truth that exists is, in that sense, free.

    It was a long time before I met the author of the notes.

    One Sunday morning, I was told that someone was waiting for me in the office. The young person who answered the rectory door said that it was "the woman who said she left all the notes." When I saw her I was shocked, since I immediately recognized her from church but had no idea that it was she who wrote the notes. She was sitting in a chair in the office with her hands folded in her lap. Her head was bowed and when she raised it to look at me, she could barely smile without pain. Her face was disfigured, and the skin so tight from surgical5 procedures that smiling or laughing was very difficult for her. She had suffered terribly from treatment to remove the growths that had so marred6 her face.

    We chatted for a while that Sunday morning and agreed to meet for lunch later that week.

    As it turned out we went to lunch several times, and she always wore a hat during the meal. I think that treatments of some sort had caused a lot of her hair to fall out. We shared things about our lives. I told her about my schooling7 and growing up. She told me that she had worked for years for an insurance company. She never mentioned family, and I did not ask.

    We spoke8 of authors we both had read, and it was easy to tell that books are a great love of hers.

    I have thought about her often over the years and how she struggled in a society that places an incredible premium9 on looks, class, wealth and all the other fineries of life. She suffered from a disfigurement that cannot be made to look attractive. I know that her condition hurt her deeply.

    Would her life have been different had she been pretty? Chances are it would have. And yet there were a sensitivity and a beauty to her that had nothing to do with looks. She was one to be listened to, whose words were so easy to take to heart. Her words came from a wounded but loving heart, very much like all hearts, but she had more of a need to be aware of it, to live with it and learn from it. She possessed10 a fine-tuned sense of beauty. Her only fear in life was the loss of a friend.

    How long does it take most of us to reach that level of human growth, if we ever get there? We get so consumed and diminished, worrying about all the things that need improving, we can easily forget to cherish those things that last. Friendship, so rare and so good, just needs our care-maybe even the simple gesture of writing a little note now and then, or the dropping of some beautiful words in a basket, in the hope that such beauty will be shared and taken to heart.

    The truth of her life was a desire to see beyond the surface for a glimpse of what it is that matters. She found beauty and grace and they befriended her, and showed her what is real.














     8级    双语 


    1 feverish [ˈfi:vərɪʃ] gzsye   第9级
    • He is too feverish to rest. 他兴奋得安静不下来。
    • They worked with feverish haste to finish the job. 为了完成此事他们以狂热的速度工作着。
    2 attainment [əˈteɪnmənt] Dv3zY   第9级
    • We congratulated her upon her attainment to so great an age. 我们祝贺她高寿。
    • The attainment of the success is not easy. 成功的取得并不容易。
    3 truthful [ˈtru:θfl] OmpwN   第8级
    • You can count on him for a truthful report of the accident. 你放心,他会对事故作出如实的报告的。
    • I don't think you are being entirely truthful. 我认为你并没全讲真话。
    4 anonymous [əˈnɒnɪməs] lM2yp   第7级
    • Sending anonymous letters is a cowardly act. 寄匿名信是懦夫的行为。
    • The author wishes to remain anonymous. 作者希望姓名不公开。
    5 surgical [ˈsɜ:dʒɪkl] 0hXzV3   第9级
    • He performs the surgical operations at the Red Cross Hospital. 他在红十字会医院做外科手术。
    • All surgical instruments must be sterilised before use. 所有的外科手术器械在使用之前,必须消毒。
    6 marred ['mɑ:d] 5fc2896f7cb5af68d251672a8d30b5b5   第10级
    adj. 被损毁, 污损的
    • The game was marred by the behaviour of drunken fans. 喝醉了的球迷行为不轨,把比赛给搅了。
    • Bad diction marred the effectiveness of his speech. 措词不当影响了他演说的效果。
    7 schooling [ˈsku:lɪŋ] AjAzM6   第7级
    • A child's access to schooling varies greatly from area to area. 孩子获得学校教育的机会因地区不同而大相径庭。
    • Backward children need a special kind of schooling. 天赋差的孩子需要特殊的教育。
    8 spoke [spəʊk] XryyC   第11级
    n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
    • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company. 他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
    • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre. 辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
    9 premium [ˈpri:miəm] EPSxX   第7级
    • You have to pay a premium for express delivery. 寄快递你得付额外费用。
    • Fresh water was at a premium after the reservoir was contaminated. 在水库被污染之后,清水便因稀而贵了。
    10 possessed [pəˈzest] xuyyQ   第12级
    • He flew out of the room like a man possessed. 他像着了魔似地猛然冲出房门。
    • He behaved like someone possessed. 他行为举止像是魔怔了。

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