The Invitation of Beauty

I’ve often said that I’m a glutton for beauty – and these days I find myself more hungry for beauty than ever. I hope that I am also finding beauty more readily as I slow down, pay more attention, and recognize the nourishing role that beauty plays.

As I attend to beauty, as I participate in making things beautiful, as I am receptive to the beauty others are creating, something shifts in this weary heart of mine.

Weary as I hold my breath with the collective holding of breath ….. will justice peek its head in Minneapolis? (I have since heard that three counts of guilty nods in the direction that the moral arc of the universe indeed must bend towards justice as God is about the work of making all things right …. But oh what a long way we have to go.)

Weary as I read the post of a physician friend who has been working night and day, stepping up to serve in the ER in addition to her regular practice as Covid rages……

Weary as I empathically connect with those grappling to persevere through exacerbated mental health challenges in crushing isolation and financial hardship…..

Weary as I struggle when faced with the contradiction of Canada’s peace-keeping and complicity in the business of war…..

Weary as I hear of yet another church riding the supposed coat-tails of neutrality while their lack of clarity crushes the soul of the queer hopeful…..

Weary as sexual assault allegations wreak 360 degree damage and the toll of trauma seems so incredibly overwhelming…..

Weary as families buckle under the strain of impossible multi-tasking……

Weary as I share the journey of grief with those I love…..

While the weariness doesn’t disappear ….. I desperately need it to shift ….. to shift from oppressive to the present reminder ….. the call to humility ….. to submit ever more deeply the desire to fix …. to accompany ….. to attend ….. to pay attention.

And this brings me back to beauty.

The turn of a phrase ….. that catches my breath ….. and resonates in my soul.

The simple colour blue ….. a seemingly different sort of hue in the promise and first kiss of spring.

The freshest of greens …. as a tender shoot miraculously pushes through the hard ground.

The purest of notes ….. held long and clear by one whose natural talent has been honed by years of discipline.

The rushing of water ….. as the tide turns and the rocks join the music of creation.

The thoughtful speech of a wise friend …. shared with idealistic and eager graduates.

The silk bouquet strapped to a slim birch …. to memorialize a love lost.

The yellow daffodils ….. springing up in an old garbage dump.

And this is the mystical paradox of our Creator’s world. Beauty pops up where we least expect it – but where we most need it. As you navigate this day, with its complexity and contradiction, might you find pause in which you glimpse some expression of beauty ….. beauty that catches your breath ….. beauty that nourishes …. beauty that shifts the weariness that threatens your soul.

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe