Ahh! The quest for beauty– to obtain it, own it, bask in its presence, to capture it.
It compels us, motivates us and, outside of money, is one of the main driving forces of human activity.
So what does beauty have to do with hope?
Beauty has the power to transform. Beauty is as essential to our humanity as is air and water.
Every human has a inborn sense of beauty –from child to elder…from modern to ancient…from rich to poor.
Beauty is sought after, longed for and appreciated.
The problem is that the concept of beauty is elusive and to define what beauty is is impossible…unless beauty is defined simply as that which brings joy to the beholder.
Given that definition, I think the opposite of beauty is not ugliness but barrenness. Barrenness that occurs in our souls when we have lost the ability to appreciate even the smallest hint of beauty. Bitterness, a critical spirit, cynicism and jealousy are all the enemies of beauty. The inability to appreciate beauty greatly handicaps our ability to grasp even the possibility of hope and we can become lost in the Barrens. The Barrens…where nothing can grow–not hope, not patience, not joy, not anything. Here we have given up. I have had times in my life–more than I want to admit–where I have spent minutes, hours, even days in the Barrens. Bereft of hope, joy, peace…& beauty until something would catch my eye and my heart–even in the smallest way–and I could begin to find my way out back to the land of the living where even the remotest possibility brought enough air for another breath. In the Barrens our hearts grow cold, our vision becomes dim, and hope is unheard of. Beauty is not only an antidote for the Barrens but a preventative.
Beauty whispers & hums “all is not lost”. It sings & shouts to us of a life that is more than just existing.
Hitler stole much of the fine art of Europe in his conquest for world power.
In the Medieval times, kings and popes fought wars for decades over control of the resources to create/own beauty.
In the garden, the enemy of our souls connived to mar the beauty of God’s creation almost beyond recognition.
Why? Because beauty has power. Beauty IS power.
Power to lift us up out of despair.
Power to transform the Barrens into a place of hope,
Power to remind us of what was lost and what will one day be restored.
So whether it is…
a beautiful face
a nice lawn,
a shiny hotrod engine,
a blushing bride,
a newborn baby,
a cuddly kitten,
a joyous family reunion,
a perfectly penned poem,
a favorite song or just good music,
an inspiring scripture
or the sound of a long-distanced, loved one’s voice…
beauty has the power of transformation. Our journey towards a more HOPE-full life is not for the weak or faint-hearted and we need the power that beauty brings. Take some time today, this week, this month to tap into your power source and if you get lost in the Barrens, you can find your way out… beauty will lead the way.
Heidi Mull, an occasional Barren dweller on a quest to keep beauty in focus and my feet on the path to a life of hope and purpose.