The Beautiful Ugly

Posts 04

We all like pretty things. Don’t believe me? Check an Instagram feed.  We surround ourselves with carefully curated beauty. It’s not a bad thing to enjoy beauty. I actually believe it is built into us to search for it.  We notice sunsets and mountaintops.  We look to the ocean and the night sky and we feel amazed with our own smallness. It’s instinctive. But, have we gone too far?  Are we averting our eyes from the less pleasant? Do we turn our backs on the ordinary ugly parts of life?


The ugly can be very important.  The ugly teaches us lessons and opens our eyes to bigger truths.  I’m not talking about focusing on every awful thing that happens.  Tragedy abounds in today’s world.  I’m talking about plugging into your daily life.  Take the time to notice things that are easy to gloss over.


My father-in-law suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease.  It’s ugly.  He was a brilliant man.  A physician. A husband and father. A jokester. His body is still with us, but we have lost him none the less.  His body has slowly broken down along with his memory. I’ll be perfectly honest.  It has been brutal to watch.  And I have watched.  For the most part, I have seen ugliness.  Weight loss.  Wounds. Wheelchairs.  Hospital beds. Hospice care.


And yet.  God opened my eyes the other day in such an unexpected way.  My father-in-law had a new hospice nurse assigned.  We were in his room as she examined him and we discussed comfort measures going forward.  His wife was there with us, in her wheelchair.  She had a major stroke about a year ago.  While he continued to decline, she surprised everyone with her miraculous recovery. We almost lost her.  Now, though her mobility is impaired, her mind is back. She was understandably sad looking upon her beloved in this state.  I asked if it was ok if I wheeled her closer to the bed.  Do you want to hold his hand?  YES!


There they were.  An ailing elderly man and his wheelchair bound wife.  United for 54 years in marriage.  Holding hands.  I looked upon this scene.  It was ugly and it was breathtakingly beautiful. This is what love looks like. It was heartbreaking and life affirming. This is unconditional love.  He has nothing to offer her anymore.  He gave her all he could for as long as he could.  It reminds me a bit of the story The Giving Tree. He has nothing more to bring to the table.  And she loves him.  She loves him just as much as the day he proposed, as the days their sons were born, as when they got news of grandchildren.


1 Corinthians 13; 4-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”


This is a very well-known verse.  I’m familiar with it, but I’ve never really stopped and thought about how love perseveres. And suddenly, there it was right in front of my face.  Persevering. It was a beautiful reflection of how God loves us.  He doesn’t need us to bring anything to the table except ourselves.  His love is without prerequisites. So no matter where you are today, take a moment.  It matters not if you reached for perfection or if you have had a series of spectacular failures.  1 John 4:19 states, “We love because he first loved us.” You can turn to the one who loves you unconditionally.  His love is infinite.




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  1. Mona says:

    So very true!! It is such a hard thing to watch, and yet their love is true and miraculous. ❤️

  2. Debbie says:

    Amy, you have always taught me to find something good in the bad. It is clear that this post came straight from the heart. Love you, my friend.

  3. Divya says:

    Couldnt agree more ! So well written too ?

  4. In a world increasingly devoid of
    Truth these words convey such
    profound everlasting wisdom.
    Truly inspiring from a superb writer.

  5. Pat says:

    What a touching story. A beautiful lesson for us all to learn.

  6. Aaron Moore says:

    Well said Amy. Such an encouragement to see the beauty of love in moments even of sadness. Thank you for your insight.

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