Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ah, Beauty!

Today's the day- the post about beauty. I didn't know when this day would come, but it has sneaked up on me and arrived with haste!

Beauty, ah, sweet Beauty. What is it? Is it a perfect green lawn? Or is it Mozart? Is it da Vinci or Rembrandt? Is it old or new? Is it Hatebreed or Dennison Whitmer? Is it straight white teeth and tan skin? Is it golden pie crusts or the smell of apples and cinnamon? Is it lipstick or fashion or long hair or short hair? Is it the Fibonacci sequence or the golden rectangle? Is it color schemes or shapes or vibrato on the sweetest violin?

Let me explain to you that not one of these things is beauty. Beauty is lying in the tension. Beauty is feeling uncomfortable and knowing that something good will come of it. Beauty is realizing that suffering and pain bring about character and faith. Beauty lies within our creator and his creation, but beauty itself is God himself. He is perfect and we will never be, but when we strive to be like him, we find beauty there. Beauty is tough and sometimes bloody and broken. Beauty is found in darkness, when the light shines through. Beauty is in the everyday mundane moments. Beauty is both sadness and happiness. Beauty is both frustration and resolution. Beauty is risking and vulnerability and seeking the unknown. Beauty is wonder and humility and realizing just how small we are.

Beauty is not a false perception of reality, but beauty is realizing that reality is both the positive and the negative.

So much of what we perceive to be beautiful is based upon a subjective view of beauty-- you either like broccoli or you don't. You like classical music or you don't. You like art or you don't. The thing about subjective views is that they can change. I used to like listening to Mozart a lot, and now I don't. I used to hate avant-guarde composers and their music, but now that I understand it better I don't.

Beauty is constant, whether we recognize it as such or not. Beauty lies in everything that happens and everything that surrounds us, and often the way we perceive things is subjective so we fail to see that things are actually beautiful when they are.

What can we know about someone by looking at them or observing some of their behaviors? Do you know anyone who seemed ugly until you got to know them? Or people that seemed perfectly beautiful, but then they showed their weakness and it seemed ugly to you? People who portray themselves a certain way when they are actually different from that image can actually be saturating themselves in what seems to be ugliness and are actually failing to revel in the beauty of their lives. I know people like that, and speaking of "those people," I am one of them, especially when beauty comes to me in discomfort. I don't want to view the beauty in my life subjectively because I know my perception can be faulty. I continue to pray for humility and an open heart in those moments because I know that God is always growing me and teaching me through those times of discomfort. He is good and never fails at anything. That is an extreme statement, but it's so true. Knowing God's character helps me not to give up when times are so rough.

That, my dear friends, is beauty. Beauty lies in that place of deep understanding and trust in One who is perfect and good.

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