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It’s just packaging, after all.

Skin of various hues. Hair in ample amounts or thinning, straight, curly, dark, light, once profuse but now nonexistent. Figures long and gangly, short and stumpy. Eyes, ears, a nose, chin, torso, limbs, fingers, toes—most of us have the same amount, albeit in sizing and shaping uniquely arranged.

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Wrappers—vibrant, shiny, commonplace or dull. All still wrappers, nonetheless.

Owning a combination of physical traits, merely bearing signs of recognition—not manifestations of worth, hardly the proof (or lack of proof) of immense value lying beneath.

As my youthfulness is currently (and permanently *sigh*) a thing of the past, I stare in wonder… in the mirror, at photos, at my family and peers, once also young, but today no longer… same people having slightly different frames, altered faces, countenances somewhat worn, weathered from enduring time, entering middle-age. Men, women, once diapering babies, chauffeuring miniature athletes, now cradling their children’s children.

Other faces I knew over a decade ago, as babes, now grown beyond childhood, voices much the same, deepening into manhood, looking considerably like her mom… same familiar mannerisms as those who gave birth and rearing, in days past toddling about, but now towering above me.

In Downton Abbey one of the Grantham/Crawley women criticized Lavinia’s looks—“slight frame, pale complexion with a sprinkling of freckles, red hair, mild manner, shyness bordering on awkward” (but who wouldn’t feel awkward in those surroundings!?!).

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In Lavinia’s own words she viewed herself as: a little person, an ordinary person… Yet, she was hardly ordinary. More like extra-ordinary, as her temperament brimmed with humility, honesty, selflessness, compassion, not an ounce of cruelty… Of all the Downton women, if given the choice, Lavinia is one to be singled out for loyal companionship. Don’t you agree?

Because as we know, beauty is so much more than a surface display, greater than photogenics, or our perceptions of shallow impressions.

It’s just packaging. The wrappers are different, crinkled with time, yet wrappers they remain. What matters as much today as in centuries past, is character—qualities of one who lives beyond her own visage, seeing through the wrappings of another to view deeply, appreciating true merit, real worth, virtue unspoiled.

Defining Beauty: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest). (from http://www.dictionary.com)

So many who are truly beautiful live and move and enjoy life, all around us. Those who look past the outer wrapper, usually discover a fascinating soul worth treasuring inside.

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