Thursday, January 14, 2010

Portrait in Four Faces

I have this vision in my head, and really it is more of a snapshot than a story. So far I have only been able to write half of it in real description.

There are two pictures.

In the first is a young woman, the flirtatious center of attention. Named Rose, she wears red. Her heels are high. Shocking red lipstick tempts and taunts from her laughing face. On the outskirts of her boisterous circle is another young woman, dressed in white and called Lily. Her skirt brushes the floor and she moves silently. Soft, welcoming eyes shine from her quiet face. With a nod of the head her expression transforms when she notices you, and she is eager to listen.

When I described the first picture to my brother, he said Lily is me. But there is another picture.

Here stands a woman named Cherry, wearing a dress of berry-red. She is always moving, always with something to say. People surround her but she notices every one of them and makes them feel special. A smile never leaves her face. On the fringe of the circle is Blanche, standing rigid and silent in her white gown, and no one can get her to smile. The closeness of the circle frightens her, and so she watches. She disapproves of the extravagance, and shows it in her tight lips, arms crossed over her chest, and down-turned eyes.

Now who is me? The obvious answer is Blanche. Every personality has its dark side. If used for judgment and selfishness, even virtues like meekness and keen observation can be repellant. But Cherry is also me, to an extent. I do not think that I will ever be so very, well, attractive. Yet I can be loud and assertive and fun. Knowing myself as I do, there is Rose in me, the girl who plays her part to get what she wants, demanding attention and caring nothing for the people who give it.

The self-portrait in four faces is hard for me to draw. I see that the women are there, and I know a little about each of them, more about some. Only in the last couple years have I started to get to know Cherry at all. Both Blanche and Rose strive against her, and Lily is cautious. To be fair, Cherry equally doubts Lily.

Cherry wears bright colors. She laughs. She talks to strangers. Cherry cleans her closet and gives the coats to charities. She wants to learn to dance and eat new foods. She likes to be outdoors and active. Cherry designs costumes. She believes in the Spirit of God speaking to and through her. She dreams of adventure and danger and sacrifice. Cherry thinks of earning money. She prays with passion for the things she most hopes for. She loves to debate. Cherry tells stories to children. She hosts parties. She drinks juice and eats salad. Cherry wants her friends to pick up when she calls. She takes road trips and stays in Bed and Breakfasts. She loves real flowers that bloom and wither. Cherry wears sandals in the summer and kicks through snowdrifts in the winter.

Lily wears earth tones and blue to match her eyes. She nods her head. She listens. Lily spends hours making gifts for her close friends. She wants to write a novel and eat chocolate. She likes to read snuggled in a warm blanket. Lily sews shoulder bags. She believes in the fundamentality and authority of the Bible. She dreams of a large family and devotions around the dinner table. Lily thinks of saving money. She prays patiently, reflecting on waiting. She loves when people stick up for her. Lily cuddles babies. She plans parties. She drinks Pepsi and eats chocolate cheesecake. Lily wants to leave a message for her friends to call her back. She watches four hour Jane Austen miniseries. She collects teacups and hoards papers full of memories. Lily wears boots in the fall and tennies to help friends move in the spring.

To God be all glory.

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