beauty and the feast

A big pot of soup is brought to the table, along with salad and bread. The air smells like roast chicken and the pies are visible on the kitchen counter across the room.

Here in a village near Freiburg, Germany, our dinner party host stands up to ladle the soup and we pass full bowls around the table until everybody has one.

The eight people here tonight are a well-travelled bunch. I’m sitting next to a Canadian man in his 70s who’s been enjoying learning German for years.

“Hey,” I say, “it’s because of you that I discovered that excellent book about learning German. I saw it in your apartment and then got it for myself.”

“Yeah? Which one?”

“The old one, you know, with the German woman on the cover. She’s at a restaurant with a beer stein. Unfortunately, the newer edition* doesn’t have that cover anymore.”

“Oh, that one. Yes, it’s pretty good, isn’t it? I like that book, too,” he says.

“I do have a bone to pick with the author about his view of women, though. Do you remember the section about beautiful and ugly, with that cartoon illustration of two women walking down the street and a couple of men at a cafe table commenting on them? One of the women is gorgeous in a traditional way and the other one is not traditionally beautiful.”

“You mean she’s ugly?”

“Some people would put it that way,” I say.

“Well, there are definitely some homely women in the world!”

This is where my husband, who’s been quietly eating his soup at the end of the table enters the conversation.

“Hmmm,” he says. “Really? But don’t you think there’s always something beautiful about every woman?

(Sorry. He’s already married.)

Creating is like this: There’s a feast. (Right now. Always.) Someone at the feast is willing to look for something beautiful. And they find it.

Is that person you?


* German: How to Speak and Write It, by Joseph Rosenberg

Related reading: how to fall in love with yourself

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