I have been blessed in my life to meet so many amazing people. One was a young girl with snow white hair. She came up to me after I preached at her church one Sunday. She was surprised and pleased that a woman could be a preacher, and wanted to express her admiration. She and I became friends over the years, and I was delighted to watch her grow into a lovely, confident young woman.
As I got to know her, I learned that her beautiful hair was the result of albinism, a condition where the body lacks pigment. Or, as Kristina puts it on her blog, http://celebratingalbinism.blogspot.com, “a beautiful, unique condition that should be celebrated!” Because she lacks pigment in her hair, skin and eyes, Kristina’s vision has been affected, and she must cover up in the sun, a tough task in the high desert. And I also learned that she had been bullied in school because of her differences, and so she was home-schooled.
Kristina has let nothing stand in her way. She became an accomplished public speaker and I loved watching her “chalk talks,” where random strokes of colored chalk on a board suddenly became an amazing picture highlighting the story she was telling, usually one from the Bible. When she completed high school, she set off to college on her own in Indiana. Did I mention she is legally blind? When her guide dog didn’t work out, she was truly on her own. When she completed her studies, she returned to her home in the High Sierra.
She entered the town’s first pageant, and was named Miss Bishop. She delighted in representing the Eastern Sierra at various events. A career in tourism was in her future; she has been greeting locals and travelers alike at the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
After much prayer and contemplation she decided to enter the Miss California USA pageant on the platform “True beauty lies in our uniqueness as individuals (and that) a disability or a disadvantage should never disable your dreams.” Kristina walked away with the title of “Miss Congeniality” and an appearance on the Katie Couric Show.
Kristina is an advocate for education. She speaks openly about albinism, and about society’s preconceived notions of beauty. With a strong family and faith she has overcome cruelty and insecurity to radiate confidence and love. I am thankful for people like Kristina, who reminds us that true beauty radiates from the inside.
Dear Creator God, You have created us all in your image. We are all your beautiful children, each reflecting a different aspect of your infinite glory. We thank you for the gift of your love, which opens our hearts to the beauty all around us. Amen