A Different Kind of Beauty

By Shanna Groves

I am not so sure I like what I see today.
Sags under the eyes, a mass of hair twisted into a low ponytail,
my ears completely exposed.

It took me two years before I’d let this much of myself show.
My bottle blonde hair
and palette of cosmetics
usually help me blend in with the other moms
who drive their children to sporting events
on a warm summer afternoon.
I turn the wheel,
hoping to avoid the stark reflection
that stares back in the rearview mirror.

A profile of me with the low ponytail says it all:
There is something different about me.
I am wearing hearing aids.

The chatty crowd becomes a little more subdued
(at least I imagine that it does)
as I walk past them with my behind-the-ear hearing aids
in full view.
This is the first time these moms
with their casual T-ball attire
have seen me with my hair pulled back.

As a child, I walked up to complete strangers
and introduced myself just to make them smile.
How can I face these moms now
who usually see me as I want them to,
an extrovert who likes jumping into their conversations
with a gracious nod
as if I’ve heard every word they said?

“By his stripes we are healed,”
writes ancient prophet Isaiah.
“Only when we accept the truth of our brokenness can we be healed,”
reads my latest journal entry.

How could God allow this to happen
to a young body;
progressive hearing loss
on a seemingly healthy body?

I force myself to
face the mirror,
face the moms and their polite stares,
face the cruel reality that has a surprising hint of beauty behind it.

This is who I am.
I am slowly going deaf.
This was meant to happen,
to help me hear beyond what comes through
flawed ears.
This has made me different.

My heart has cracked open
and now it can hear
that it didn’t hear before.

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