As I sit here writing, a fall wind is rippling through the trees, late afternoon sun is dripping horizontal gold through my curtains. The riot of color outside my window makes me smile. It is, undoubtedly and, for us non-philosophy students, unarguably beautiful.
This golden snippet of time is something I look forward to all year round. The memory of days like this is what gets me through the bleak winter months. Well, that and my down parka.
See, there’s something about beauty—especially in it’s classical, fall afternoon sense.
Part of being human is the ability to recognize, look forward to, and remember beauty. Tweet This
I’m fairly certain that my dog, Odie, as smart and crazy as he is, fails to really recognize the breeze, the trees, or even a perfectly cooked steak as beautiful.
He may lift his nose in appreciation, but he fails to be profoundly thankful or reflective about a gorgeous day. This strange phenomenon is simply and mysteriously integral to who we are as people and what we’re created to be.
But beauty is bigger than that.
The ability to see beauty saves us from emotional destitution.Tweet This
Even in the worst places, in the worst times, there is beauty. A friend of mine just went through a particularly difficult divorce. I won’t go into details, but the darkness there is unarguably bleak. But my friend, she walks through her life choosing to see the colors in the sunset, the smile on her son’s face.
On every person, the rain falls, the sun rises and sets. Science has shown that grabbing onto good things is tied to your feelings of well-being. Choosing to see the beauty around us has the ability to save us.
Beauty appeals to the best inside of us.
There’s a strange thing about goodness. Experiencing it generally produces the desire to create more of it. Not that sticking a flower in the barrel of a gun will prevent all violence. That’s naïve. But it might change the perspective of the one person holding the gun. Bringing dinner to a lonely neighbor might make them less grouchy to the neighbor kids. Smiling at the checkout lady might make her job a little easier today. And jumping on the tramp with our kids makes them feel valued. Somehow being the giver or recipient of beauty can change us…if we let it.
But the strangest part of beauty, at least for me, is the ability for it to emerge from the darkest places. That somehow my friend who experienced divorce, not only sees beauty around her, but has even more beauty because of the hurt—the death of leaf creating the color. And it’s this aspect that has the most power. It’s an aspect I’m still struggling with and I suspect you are too. So, next week, we’ll explore it a little more.
In the meantime, tell me why beauty is important to you or maybe even something someone’s done for you to bring a little beauty to your life.