One lady in our ward, that is, our department, stopped at my cell, ahem...desk and asked if she could tell me something. I said she could and to my astonishment, she told me I had a regal aura about me, like I was royalty. I nearly choked. I was flabbergasted. "Okay..." grinning like a Cheshire. "Thank you." All day, her words lingered in my ears. Sometimes chiding, sometimes inspiring. For I am of royal descent. More than a descendant of the royal Scots, I am a daughter of a King. Do I remember that when I am among commoners? Many times, no. And yet, people see that "regal aura" about me. It makes me want to walk worthy of my calling.
Do I spend as much time cultivating inner beauty as I do attending to daily grooming of my person? Sadly, no. I am a minimalist when it comes to both. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that fears the Lord: she shall be praised." If I am beautiful in looks, what good is it if my spirit stinks as mine does, much of the time? I need to cultivate a quiet spirit and learn more of my Father's ways. Too, what good is a beautiful spirit if hygiene is neglected? Along with my regime for inner-beauty, I need to improve my appearance with exercise and grooming. (I'm sure my chic friend A. would agree!)
Just now, I did a Google search to see what would come up on cultivating inner beauty. When I think of biblical beauty queens, my mind immediately turns to Esther. The King James version and every other translation of the Bible I've read speaks of Esther as a beauty, so this article on BeingJewish.com suggesting she might have been a plain-looking girl surprised me. (Needless to say, I do not agree this article entirely, though I thought it posed some interesting possibilities.) "Hadassah" (Esther's Hebrew name) is from the word "hadas", or myrtle. Myrtle is a humble plant, but when crushed it gives a beautiful fragrance.
Just as the hadas must be bruised and crushed in order to smell its sweetest, so often must each of us undergo suffering in order to fully develop. Our sweet smell is inherent, but it is not always manifest until brought forth through difficult times.
And the two names of Queen Esther work hand in hand in this message: Hashem's salvation lies waiting for us in secret. Somewhere, whatever trouble we may be going through, for whatever reason we may need to be "bruised and crushed," like the hadas, there is always an ester, a hidden salvation waiting for us, that Hashem has prepared for us long before the troubles began.
I feel like Esther, a captive in a strange land. I feel bruised and crushed by a society that couldn't seem to care less about my God. But I am here, and this, whether I like it or not, is my reality. What will be the "hidden salvation" the Lord brings to His people through my life?