J. Marshall Jenkins

Author, Therapist, Spiritual Director

Meek Beauty

BWanda's Shorter Web Page Photolessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

Pretty faces are a dime a dozen, while beauty is rare.  Her meekness makes her beautiful.

Yes, her soft blue eyes, milky complexion, and delicately angular face will make any man look twice.  Then again, her modesty and preference to listen rather than talk may lose the attention of some.  But discerning people see clues that the pretty frame emanates from a beautiful heart.

So I looked a third time more closely.  I found that her listening nurtured deep insight into people, not an insight guided by cynicism but by love, by faith that everyone carries gifts and virtues to celebrate.  When necessary, she can detect reasons to keep her distance from some – she can see dark motives, too, like every beautiful woman must – but she has a way of finding that imprint of God’s loving touch in everyone she meets.  She loves to talk about the goodness she discovers in others.

Paul blessed the Philippians, “May your love overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight, to help you discern what is best” (Philippians 1:9-10a).  Somehow the blessing lasted through the eons and drifted into the heart of my beloved.

What could I do but fall in love with her?  She is Loveliness Herself.  According to Webster’s Universal Unabridged Dictionary, “lovely,” means, “having those qualities that inspire love, affection, or admiration; specifically, (a) beautiful; exquisite; (b) morally or spiritually attractive; gracious.”   A talented professional musician, teacher to pupils from toddlers to Ph.D.’s, patient friend to everyone who needs a listening ear, single mother who never raises her voice to her three wonderful children, and of course, simply gorgeous, she’s got loveliness nailed.  It’s (b) that intrigues me most.  Nobody exceeds her in honesty and goodwill.  She makes integrity sexy.

Extracting meekness out of her would be the mother of all Jekyll and Hyde acts.  No one would recognize her.  I cannot imagine her beauty without it.  Hollywood and Madison Avenue constantly flash images of aesthetically pleasing women and men seeking our attention, the big bucks, or an empire to call their own, and that is the opposite of meekness.  It doesn’t take much attention to make my beloved squirm.  This post is probably killing her.

Wanda Nov 2014 A

So I will mercifully end it.  Of course, I torment her daily with reminders of her beauty.  She’s learning to take it.  But the meekness remains rock solid.

Her name is Wanda Cantrell, and if I may, I’d like a brief word with her: Happy birthday, darling.  Blessed are you.  You deserve the world.  The best I can do is give you my heart, the one you are holding.  God will take care of the rest.





J. Marshall Jenkins

About J. Marshall Jenkins

J. Marshall Jenkins is an author, psychotherapist, teacher, and spiritual director. For several years he has been writing on the Beatitudes for people in emotional pain, publishing biweekly here on his Beatitudes Blog at http://www.jmarshalljenkins.com. His newest book, Blessed at the Broken Places: Reclaiming Faith and Hope with the Beatitudes, is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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8 Replies

  1. Gail Wilkes

    How lucky she is to have found you……and you her. May you continue to share many happy, fulfilling moments together.

    1. jmarshalljenkins.com

      Thank you, Gail. She is an angel.

  2. Lucinda P. McGuinn

    Happy Birthday Wanda. I knew Marshall was talking about you from the first paragraph. You both are lovely people.

    1. jmarshalljenkins.com

      Thank you, Cinda. She survived reading the post and decided to let herself enjoy it. She knows it was from the heart.

  3. Patty

    Well, Marshall, this is just the nicest post ever. What a lovely and touching tribute to Wanda….and well-deserved, in my opinion. Just when I hear the violins soaring, you throw in a cheeky line: “she makes integrity sexy”. Lol! Seriously, though, I’m glad you posted this. It gives me hope that I might start recognizing the beatitudes more regularly in those that I love. Personalizing the beatitudes gives them meaning beyond the mere words, which is, of course, the whole point. Happy Birthday, Wanda. Hope you’re not blushing too much over this sweet post!

    1. jmarshalljenkins.com

      Well, Patty, you got the point exactly: To help readers recognize the Beatitudes in those they love (and themselves, I might add), and “Personalizing the beatitudes gives them meaning beyond mere words.” I was reflecting on people I know who provide good examples of meekness, and what a happy coincidence that my favorite exemplar just happens to be celebrating her birthday today!

  4. Teresa Czekalla

    This is the first article from your blog that I have read and I love it!! From everything that you have shared about Wanda, and the few things that I picked up on when I was around her, I would say that you are right….you nailed it:) Great article! Good luck with your blog!!

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