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I mindlessly scrolled through the current news feed on my phone while I sat on the beach at Lake Erie, the sun shining across the water… the headline of an article caught my attention: “Sometimes, It Makes Me Cry”: Once Hailed as the Epitome of Human Physique, 75-YO Arnold Schwarzenegger Makes a Heart-Wrenching Confession

The discussions on the greatest bodybuilders always include IFBB legend Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name. During his prime, his physique was widely recognized as one of the finest, helping him secure six consecutive and seven total Olympia titles.

In the interview when asked if he still hits the classic poses, he disclosed, “Yes, but only in the bathroom because sometimes it makes me cry.”

That really hit home.

The most surprising thing to me in all of the details of fighting cancer has been people’s obsession with my wife’s appearance.

We were at a soccer game, Kandis coaching the 5yr olds, it was hot, really hot, and muggy. Up to that point she’s worn a hat of some sort while coaching. This day it was unbearable. She tossed the hat.

Some grandma of kids on the team disgustedly exclaimed, “WHELL! I guess just shave it all off!…”

…and I was not surprised. Disappointed. But not surprised.

It’s a shame society is like that but I did not expect our circle to also be societal. That is surprising.

When Kandis was going to cut her hair short before losing it to chemo, there was a lot of “oh I don’t know” and opinions on style. People needed to know if she was going to get a wig and made their wishes along those lines known. A lot of people that are not Kandis had a lot of ideas on length, cut, color, how she should style it, and that she should always wear it in public…

Some people are offended by the changes in her appearance, the color of her complexion, her thinning eyebrows….

The most common conversation starter for people interacting with Kandis is, “What symptoms are you experiencing today?” Sometimes it’s stated as, “how are you feeling?” and that is almost always followed with, “You look ___________”

Some days it is, “you look like death” and other days it is, “you don’t look like death” Neither are a compliment.

Some of it is that people don’t know what to say… but that is not all of it. A lot of it is people without scruples.

She’d really like to talk about something that isn’t her present predicament. I am rather convinced that most people afflicted with any long term ailment would like to talk about anything that is not their ailment.

Presently, we are down to one more chemo treatment. Next on the list of unpleasant things to endure is surgery, and wow! If people were interested in her hair, they are INTERESTED in her chest. Are you going to have a __________? Are you going to get __________? What are your options?

And there are A LOT of opinions.

The message consistently being shouted at Kandis is “You are not going to be beautiful unless you _______.”

It is contrary to everything God says about us in the Bible. We are His creation, loved and beautiful. Everything He created this side of heaven is always changing. We tend to not like that. We tend to hold on. We tend to strive towards.

As the creator, we are each His canvas. “Well, Lord! What do you think?”

It would be easy to say beauty is not found in outward things like hairstyles and breasts, but in having a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:3-4). And that would be true and only partly true. The Bible remembers to mention that women like Sarah (Genesis 12:11), Rebekah (Genesis 24:16), Rachel (Genesis 29:17), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:3), Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2) and Esther (Esther 2:7) were beautiful.

Beauty is much deeper than what the world perceives it to be. This is why Proverbs 31:30 calls beauty “vain” and women are instructed not to make physical appearance their priority (1 Tim 2:9-10; 1 Pet 3:3-4). Beauty shouldn’t be measured by worldly standards, but this does not mean women aren’t to be beautiful or that our beauty should be exclusively inward.

It does mean the validation for beauty is found with the King.

Back to the soccer game where Kandis tossed her hat…

The kids paused for a minute, looked at her, asked, “what happened to your hair?”

Kandis simply answered, “I have to take some really yucky medicine and it makes most of my hair fall out”

One kid got to thinking out loud, “Hmmm… my dad is bald, maybe he takes yucky medicine too…”

And Kandis got back to coaching and the kids got back to being coached and enjoying soccer.

And some people think she doesn’t even need hair. Her head is beautiful.

Kandis, You are beautiful!