Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beauty in the Eye of the Creator

Someone pointed out to me recently that she'd noticed how prone I'd become to negativity and self-pity. I had to mentally take a step back. I would normally consider myself to be a happy person. There are so many things I genuinely find joy in. But this hasn't been an easy year, and I hadn't realized how easily I'd fallen into a pattern of complaint and anxiety and self-centeredness. I had lost sight of the One who is the source of our joy. The poem I am going to share with you is one that I started months ago, but as I pulled it out to finish in the last couple weeks, it turned into a conscious effort to see things differently.

My quote for today is the title of one of my favorite films, 
"Life is Beautiful." 
For those of you who haven't seen this movie, DO! Don't let the fact that it is in Italian deter you. Believe me, it is well worth the effort. "Life is Beautiful" is hilarious and tender, though the ending is hard. I won't give away that ending. Suffice it to say that the movie is the story of a father's love for his son, how he protects him from fear in a concentration camp by pretending the whole thing is a game.

And the little boy looking back, describes it this way, "This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me."

What the movie suggests is true. Life IS beautiful, but not because we are being shielded from the harsh truth. There's no doubt about it, life is also hard, but we have a God who is above those trials, who promises us a future beyond this damaged life, and who is even willing to walk with us in our present times of need.

It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I believe that's true, but it depends less on differing opinions and more on whether you intend to see beauty in the first place. There is beauty all around us and of all different kinds. Let us rejoice in what God has created and in what He has redeemed.

A Study of Beauty

The mountain peak in sunset dressed,
The cheerful river at play or rest,
A tranquil wood when thunder sleeps,
The calming rain when heaven weeps:
Beauty tried and beauty true.
Beauty neither old nor new.

The intricacy of a spider’s toil,
A butterfly’s tongue, the slender coil,
The veins of a leaf, like stained glass green,
The infant plant within a bean:
There is beauty still so small
That most cannot be seen at all.

On forgotten moons the wastelands lie
Beneath the stars that crown the sky,
The rich expanse of the Milky Way,
The emptiness without night or day:
Beauty too vast to comprehend
Spans the Universe, end to end.

The smile that’s worth a thousand thoughts,
That comforts the heart with misery fraught,
The embrace that forgives an angry word,
The ear that listened, more than heard:
Beauty is a three-strand cord
To walk alone we cannot afford.

The joining of two lives as one,
The aspirations of life begun,
To make a house his castle grand,
And growing old while hand in hand:
This beauty beyond horizons lies.
I wait for One whose plans are wise.

The design of suds across a plate,
The delight of a sock who has found his mate,
The valor of a dust bunny chase,
The mirth of dirt that streaks the face:
Beauty often smells like bleach,
A beauty never far from reach.

The mischief made with food or dirt,
A “Jackson Pollock” on his shirt,
The nose that does not cease to drip,
The sticky hand with tightening grip:
A beauty I have yet to know,
A sprouting of the seeds you sow.

The misused life, the damaged heart,
The dream once sure that fell apart,
Still this by God can be renewed,
With grace’s beauty thus imbued.
Imperfect beauty fills our earth,
Excepting one unblemished birth.

The wounded hand, the heaving chest,
One Son by wrath of God oppressed.
The lonely tomb, the weight of sorrow,
Until the wonder of tomorrow:
Beauty in each drop of blood
That fell unheeded to the mud.
The beauty of a tombstone rolled,
A God who every vow upholds,
Because of this His bride receives
A beauty where no soul can grieve.
Till then He shows us beauty here.
If grand or humble, hold it dear.

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