Wednesday, August 24, 2016

for when you need to look for beauty

"What a splendid day!"  said Anne, drawing a long breath.  "Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this?  I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it."

Currently carried everywhere in my purse is Anne of Green Gables.  A love was born for spunky Anne Shirley at a young age by the side of one of my best and oldest friends.  Many a friendship currently has deepened because of our genuine love for Prince Edward Island's residents and grown women might grieved greatly when the actor who played our beloved Gilbert passed away.  Picking the book back up after many years was in response to my heart's need for a lovely novel after so many non fictions in a row and the absence of finding any new fiction that could keep my attention for longer than a chapter or two.  On the radio, just yesterday, there was a discussion about the importance of reading older books and the intellectual, moral, and historical lessons needed from them that are just not possible to get from modern literature.  That, plus the news a new miniseries will be coming out based upon this classic series, has given me an uncommon feeling of being quite trendy.

Whenever I am on trend it usually comes as a result of an accident.  I attempt to make myself aware of the fashion trends to a point so I do not find myself looking completely uncool in situations, but mostly I just like what I like as far as fashion, home decor, movies, books, and so on and let that be the guide.  Trends come and go and I do not have the time, money, or husband approval to keep up with the comings and goings.  He was a staunch there is no need to change it until it breaks who cares of it matches or not kind of fella no matter how ugly it may be fella when we first met.  Since currently I am revamping our works perfectly fine but looks like a dungeon 1950s laundry room into a visually appealing space, there is proof that over the years there has been much movement towards my side of thinking that beautifying the areas around you bring a comfortable homeyness and peace to the eyes and spirit.  However, his way of thinking is continually reminding me that I do not need perfection around me, that I can, and should, be able to find beauty anywhere.

It is easy to clearly imagine a day just like Anne is describing, one with a bright blue sky and a smattering of white clouds, one with a hint of a breeze but a full shining sun, one void of humidity that can be enjoyed with a thermometer that doesn't read anywhere near the 90s, one that would without a doubt have a beach, or mountains, or garden, or fields, or a city skyline for a view depending on your preference and personality, one where everything simply seems to fall into place and the only thing left to do is enjoy.  There have been countless days like that in my life, as well, I assume, as in yours, and there will be many more fitting that same description before life on this earth is done.  But, we have and will amass many more that look quite different.

The flipside has days with unbearable heat that have you searching for cool air wherever you can get it, with painful cold that sends people huddling indoors or struck with fear on how to stay warm when there is no door to go in, or with rain and fog and gray clouded dreariness that effects moods without any effort.  There are also days where the outside weather may be textbook perfect but your heart is feeling something so different inside that your eyes have trouble seeing the beauty for what it is, and more importantly from where and Whom it comes. 

There was a season in my life where beauty should have been so hard to find that it would have felt like a desperate daily search just to find an ounce to cling to.  While that did happen more moments than can be counted, while fear and heartache did their best and succeeded at times to cover up every smidgen of beauty the eyes could see, in between the hard and desperation, came arrows shooting straight to small beautiful things forever in the midst, things that once had been stared right through and now became beacons of beauty and gifts in the rubble.  The most precious lessons were learned, one of which...

Beauty is not based on circumstances.  

Like Joy, the ability to see Beauty is not dependent upon the best of circumstances taking places. Beauty can be seen and found in any and all times and situations because it is wholly dependent upon the view through which you are looking.  There are no shortage of things we are promised when we cling to our God of Hope, and while those promises never include perfect lives, they always include life given from One who did live perfectly.  One such promise is to all who mourn...He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair (Isaiah 61:3)

Beauty from ashes.  Beauty in the darkest places.

Looking upon the surface will grant you the ability to see beautiful things the way the world sees them but to miss the infinite amount of beauty that the world's eyes will never be able to see.  Look below the surface, look through the eyes of that sweet Spirit within you that never takes its eyes off the true Beauty always before us, beholding the beauty of the Lord and meditating in His temple (Ps. 27:4

However difficult it may be alone, with Him "I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living [as long as I] wait for the Lord; be strong, and let [my] heart take courage and wait for the Lord." Him not me, His eyes, not mine.  Seeing His work in the lives of myself and others, not my efforts.

Let's look for Beauty.

Pray for me, I'll be praying for you.

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