I’ve always been intrigued by the term ‘jolie laide‘, or ‘beautiful ugly’ (I don’t know that anyone should be called jolie laide, it’s kind of a backhanded compliment, isn’t it? As though because it’s a French term that makes it okay?).
I love how Port Botany looks, with all its industrial forms and giant metal dinosaur cranes stretching into the sky. It’s not a pretty place, but it is striking. I drive past it on the way over to the eastern suburbs, or if I’m coming home sometimes I’ll go along Foreshore Drive just so I can see that barren landscape. It’s like driving into a Jeffrey Smart painting.
I want to stop and take some photos there one day, but the view I really want to take is impossible unless I can get someone else to drive and be very quick at the traffic lights. Coming up Beauchamp Road, with the sign overhead and a lowering sky. But this will do for those who don’t know the area:
I always forget what this plant is called. Anyway, for most of the year it’s a really ugly prehistoric looking thing. I found it tumbled over in a pot under one of the raphis palms when I was excavating down the back when we first moved in, and didn’t think much of it. But give it a bit of sun and a bit of water and in late autumn it just kind of explodes in these bright pink flowers. It’s a surprise every year, because most of the time it just sits there looking spiky and unlovable, when all it really wants to do is bloom its heart out and show off.
No photo of that, fortunately. But thinking back to the last couple of days’ gifts, and the changes being a Christian has wrought in my life, one of the most wonderful gifts is how God turned my ugly, cracked, hard heart into something alive, whole and beautiful.
I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I think of who I was ten years ago (or even five years ago, or a year ago…or last week), and how much I’ve changed, and I know that’s the work of the Spirit in my life. I know there is still so much work God has to do in my life, and he won’t be done until my last day. But I am glad that God is shaping me to be the woman he wants me to be, he’s taken away the ugliness of my life before, and is preparing me for the beautiful future ahead.