How do you define beauty? A couple of weeks ago I had my college Creative Writing class read a piece about watching a stunt pilot fly his plane by author Annie Dillard. She wrote, “I had thought I knew my way around beauty a little bit, I knew I had devoted a good part of my life to it… ” but watching Dave Rahm’s performance in the air changed all she had known about beauty. She wrote, “Even the Boston Museum of fine Arts was never more inspiring …”
I was captivated by her sentence, “I had thought I knew my way around beauty…”
It wasn’t so much Dillard’s artful descriptions of the stunt pilot’s performance that captured my attention as the idea of beauty– of learning something new about beauty. So I asked my class this provocative question: I said, “What are you learning new about beauty today?” Their mouths flopped open, eyes bulged. “Hunh?”
So now I’m asking the same question of you. What are you learning new about beauty today? Will you go on this journey with me? Send me what you’re learning about beauty. Tell me what beauty means to you. (Notice I’m not using the word “beautiful” which is an adjective– I’m talking about the real-life in-the-moment- experience of the noun, beauty.) Okay, I’m waiting to hear from you.
I was at a christian concert at a church. I was watching the older couple in front of me passing notes back and forth to each other (because we could not hear). They were giggling like children. Then the husband turned and mouthed the words I LOVE YOU. She responded by grabbing his face in a soft kind of way, saying I love you too. That is beauty.
Yes, that’s beauty. Thanks!
A young boy insists his mother take him out into the pouring rain for a nature hike. She is a little reluctant to head out in the rain until he verbalizes, “God came to our home last night mommy and He said to meet Him in His secret place today. He has something to show us.”
Who could resist an invite from God, so off they go with umbrellas open and the little fellow leading the way as if he knows right where God’s secret place is. The mother trudges behind, at times out of breath. She notices the sound of the water rushing down through the creek bed and the rain hitting the branches of the canopy of trees above. She thought to herself, “rain, it is lovely. Water from the heavens. How refreshing, how wonderful it is to be in the rain.”
They followed along the side of the creek for some time until the young boy came to a split in the trail and matter-of-factly says to his mother, ” This is our exit mommy, we have to go this way now.” she looks up from under the umbrella to note a path that is straight up a hill. She tried to reason with him that this may be difficult with the mud and the rain, but he insisted all the more. So up they went, and again he led the way. The mother struggled with the terrain while the young boy shouted words of encouragement back to his mother, ” You can do it mommy, just a little further.” she was tickled by his sweetness. At last he made it to the top with the mother still trailing behind. His eyes were bright with confidence as he continued to coach his mother up the hill through the forest. She made an occasional stop to catch her breath and then would continue the tredge upward. Finally making it to the top she glimses beauty in all its splender. Her son was standing in the midst of thousands of wild daffodils, a bright yellow backdrop against what some would call a dreary day. He gleamed with joy as he announced,” see mommy this is what God has been up to, growing flowers.”
Beauty is a child of God determined to follow God to the places God leads him to, regardless of the conditions.
I was completely overjoyed with all the beauty that day held for me and my son.
Shared with love from his delighted servant…
O Shelli, that is certainly beauty. And it was your experience with your son! Wow. May God’s beauty be your guide and heart of wisdom forever– Love, marie