Musing 6.26.20

As has been the case for the past several months, there has been a lot in the news. What has, however, captured my attention this week has not been in the news. It has been in our backyard. It is the daylilies. All spring Susan has fought thistles. Last week the daylilies eclipsed the thistles. While we can see 13 recycling bins, 4 trash barrels, one mattress, and one dumpster from our back porch, it is the daylilies that occupy my thoughts. They are beautiful! It is a delight to walk through them to the porch.

When I walk through them, I realize that they won’t be there all summer. I realize that each one blossoms for a day and is done. It is their ephemerality which tells me to linger on the walkway and appreciate them while they last. Yet, as much as their beauty lifts me; I find it does not fill me. What the beauty does is stimulate an appetite deep within me which wants to connect to something beyond me. Beauty creates a yearning for something greater than I. Beauty also tells me that there is something greater than I.

Joan Chittister writes in Illuminated LIfe:
Beauty lifts life out of the anesthetizing cliches of the pedestrian. An encounter with the beautiful lifts our eyes beyond the commonplace and gives us a reason for going on, for ranging beyond the mundane, for endeavoring ourselves always to become more than we are. In the midst of struggle, in the depths of darkness, in the throes of ugliness, beauty brings with it a realization that the best in life is, whatever the cost, really possible.... To have seen a bit of Beauty out of which beauty comes is a deeply spiritual experience. It shouts to us always, “More. There is yet more.” Beauty tells me that creation and we are made from something more. It is almost a tease in pointing us to what is greater and foretelling that we will be part of that greater Beauty. Beauty is the call of God’s Spirit to the spirit within us. Frederick Buechner says that, “Beauty is to the spirit what food is to the flesh.” (Whistling in the Dark, p. 20). If we care about our spirit’s health, we might want to give beauty a thought.

In our world today we don’t hear about beauty. We hear about lots of other stuff repeatedly. Beauty not so much. It is not that it supplements our life. It sustains our life. Where have you been fed by beauty lately?