In some of our emails, we’d talked about meeting in New York, at Serendipity, for one of their signature ice-cream treats. Instead, we had dinner at a quirky and wonderful restaurant called “Lynn’s Paradise Café,” whose food has been featured on the Food Network (Bobby Flay’s “Throwdown”) and Oprah.
As a surprise, Charlotte (Dotsy’s sister-in-law) had arranged for a party table and for the cook to put together a giant banana split, something not usually on the menu. Thus, Serendipity came to Louisville. How special is that?
Though the meal was amazing (pan fried pecan chicken with mustard maple cream sauce?!), it paled in comparison to FINALLY meeting “my” Dotsy face to face, two MAC survivors celebrating their surgery-after-surgery healing. There was so much catching up to do that I’m afraid we somewhat neglected the others who were there for the big event: my mom, Dotsy’s husband (Larry), and her brother and sister-in-law (Buddy and Charlotte). Boy, did we TALK! In fact, we ended up meeting again for breakfast the next morning just to be sure that everything that needed to be said had been said.
This encounter was without a doubt one of the most significant events of my recent history. It was just…moving and exhilarating and sobering. A few months ago, when Dotsy was preparing for the extensive surgery that had a terrifying “worst case scenario,” she mused about how her grandchildren might perceive her if she ended up more disfigured than (thank God) she is. At that time, I wrote to her to share what I’d clung to in my own pre-surgery anxiety: the eyes are the windows to the soul, and if they’re alive with love and zest and confidence and trust, the scars won’t be the center of attention. If our eyes express something beautiful and true, the focus of others will be only on them once they’ve gotten past the initial surprise of post-surgery traces.
Websters defines beauty as: “The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind.”
Having met Dotsy, I’d suggest that the definition of beauty is much simpler–“beauty is smiling through the scars that healed you.” I assure you that after my surprise at how minimal her scars are (her surgeon is a genius!), I saw nothing but the spirit reflected so powerfully in Dotsy’s eyes.
Please continue to pray for Dotsy as she faces more reconstructive surgery in October. The BFA choir took her on as a special prayer project this year, and I assure you that we’ll praying again in the fall. Dotsy–how incredible to finally meet you. You’re everything I thought you were and more. I’m so, so, so grateful to know you!