Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love. The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly.
To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail had long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. "That's one ugly cat!"
All the children were warned not to touch him. The adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, and squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.
One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor’s huskies. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was lying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.
Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly, I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear. Ugly, in so much pain, suffering, and obviously dying was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye toward me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring.
Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection; perhaps some compassion. At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me, completely trusting in me to relieve his pain. Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterward, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly. Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful.
He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total to those I cared for. All of us would want to be richer, more successful, well liked, or beautiful. But for me, I will always try to be
To My God be the Glory, Honor and Praise,
Shelia E. Lipsey
My Book Review
This acknowledgement was “To Ugly” and it just made me weep. How many times have YOU seen something or someone so ugly, it made you cringe? Did it ever occur to you that they need love too? This was the perfect siegway to a great story about how people see themselves and live in such a ugly life because of demons that haunt them. And most of it’s in their mind. The three ladies in this wonderful and truly heart felt story are beautiful, but they all are harboring silent uglies that only they see. Shelia tell each one's story, beautifully. Forgiving your ugllies is such a haunting task, but a doable one.
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Beautiful Ugly by Shelia Lipsey
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About Beautiful Ugly
Three friends with different struggles rely on God and each other to get by. Layla Hobbs has so much to offer, including a beautiful singing voice, but obesity and low self-esteem hold her back from life and finding true love. Envy Wilson has always been Layla’s backbone. But what about her own dark secrets? She won’t share them with anyone, and it’s starting to eat away at her from the inside. And then there’s Kacie Mayweather. Stricken with cerebral palsy, she’s had her share of men—five baby daddies for six children, in fact. But she’s never had one man to call her own. They’ll need plenty of faith and support from each other to see the real beauty that lies within each one of them and fulfill their deepest desires at last.
Win an autographed copy of
Beautiful Ugly by Shelia Lipsey
Shelia Lipsey is the author of three other Christian Fiction novels. The trivia question below is from one of those novels. Leave your response to the trivia question below in the comment section.
What was the name of the church that the Graham family attended? Tell us the title of the book.
About the Author
Author Shelia E. Lipsey is a multi-award winning author. Her novels are available at most bookstores nationwide as well as online. Lipsey’s books have been called gripping, life-altering, memorable and realistic. Lipsey was recently awarded the 2009 Top Shelf Award for Beautiful Ugly by Black Pearls Magazine. She also won 2009 Shades of Romance Readers’ Choice Awards for My Son’s Wife in the following categories: Author of the Year, Christian fiction Book of the Year, Christian Romance of the Year, Best Book Cover of the Year, Best Fiction Book of the Year, among several other awards for her novels, Into Each Life and Sinsatiable.
Lipsey is the proud mother of two sons and the grandmother of three blessed young men. She is president of UCHisGloryBookClub.net, founder of Living Your Dreams Now a non-profit organization and MAAW (Memphis African American Writers).
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