Eye of the Beholder
by Patty Froese
How beautiful are you? If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you land?
I don't think anyone is terribly comfortable with that exercise. We've been trained by the media to criticize ourselves. A droop, a sag, a blemish... Those are inexcusable. Actresses are publicly mocked for having gained a little weight or having some "cottage cheese cellulite" on their thighs, exposed by the prying lenses of unwelcome cameras.
Women have babies and are judged by their "bounce back" time, ridiculous as that may be.
A woman's value is not based on something as fickle as Hollywood ideals, but the constant battery of messages coming from the media would have us believe something else. Companies want us to believe that tubes and vials will make us beautiful, that certain styles will help us maintain our youth, that dyes will make us feel lovely. From diets to exercise machines, clothing lines to skin creams, the woman in this modern age is bombarded by messages that she just isn't enough, and she needs some help. Big time.
So when we look at ourselves in the mirror, what do we see? I always joke that it isn't fair to judge me only on my looks, because when you add in my personality, I get at least a three point lift on that number. And while I'm only joking around when I talk like that, there is truth under the laughter.
Beauty is more than skin deep.
But how much more?
Would you still feel beautiful if you had to wear unflattering clothing? Would you feel beautiful if all your hair fell out? Would you feel beautiful if scars covered your face and distorted your smile?
And if you stopped feeling beautiful, would you feel loved?
Where does our beauty come from?
In Eye of the Beholder, my heroine loses her looks in a freak accident. She goes from stunningly beautiful, capturing the admiration of everyone around her, to scarred and pitied. Doors no longer fly open for her, and the face in the mirror seems to belong to a stranger. When she goes up to the autumn woods to try to make peace with what she cannot change, she's faced with more than the reality of her new looks--she's faced with a man from her past who lost more than she ever knew.
When a woman loses her looks, what is there left to love?
Tricia Hunter was an extraordinary beauty...before a horrible bus accident left her irreparably scarred. In an effort to accept the things she cannot change, she heads to her uncle's cabin for some time alone.
Forest ranger Jesse Reynolds recognizes Tricia the minute he sees her, but nothing flickers in her eyes. That's fine by him. The same accident that stole her good looks killed his fiance, and he simply can't bring himself to feel sorry for Tricia like everyone else in her life seems to do.
Thrown together in the autumn woods, they are faced with the past, an uncertain future, and a struggle to find out why God allows terrible things to happen.
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What do you think true beauty is and where does beauty reside? How do you reconcile the evil, pain, and suffering in the world with the existence of an all-powerful, all knowing and good God? Two questions that raise some deep issues. Feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and answers.
-- The Weather Scribe