Last weekend, I went with my mother to the grocery store. (We do not often go together, as she lives in the frozen northeast and I live in the desert southwest.) There was Yet Another Winter Storm brewing, so we scurried in and out of the store quickly to retrieve what we needed before the flakes began falling again.
After I loaded the groceries into the trunk, I returned the cart. Since there were no "cart corrals" in the parking lot, I brought the cart all the way back in to the store. (When we had gone in, there were hardly any carts inside, and yet there was a stoic and steady stream of shoppers braving the cold -- so returning the carts to the front of the store seemed necessary.) Along the way I picked up a second cart that was lingering in the parking lot and returned it, too.
When I got into the car, my mother said, "You are a lovely person." I replied that it was the least I could do to return the carts all the way inside the store given the weather, and she responded, "No, I meant lovely looking."
Ah. Outside vs. Inside.
Leaving aside a mother's clear bias regarding the attractiveness of her children: what a divergent use of the word "lovely."
My mother uses "lovely" in the traditional sense of physical beauty. Once she explained what she had meant, we discussed skin care regimens, and the delight she feels when people cannot believe her age because she has such pretty, youthful skin. I am pleased for her.
When I think of someone as being "lovely", I think of a radiance of an inner quality. People who are lovely are people whose company one enjoys; who are kind and helpful; who bring a bit of happiness to those around them. This is the lovely I seek to be.
Physical beauty (whatever one may have, or have had) fades. Yet to be lovely from the inside out, will shine, always.