Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Value of Beauty

Over the past two days, it has been raining consistently, causing flash flooding and making it difficult to do anything outside of the house. However, yesterday, the clouds parted and the sun emerged.
I noticed it once or twice, snapped a few pictures, marveled for a moment, and then went on with my shopping. But as the day went on, my grandmother continually commented on how beautiful the sky was.

"Look at that beautiful blue sky...thank You, Lord..."
"Will you look at that? The rain's finally stopped."
"I do love a beautiful sky..."

By the third or fourth of these comments, I was annoyed. She lives here...shouldn't she be used to it? However, I glanced out the window during lunch and took it in for a moment. It was at that moment that I decided to see through someone else's eyes. And I'm so glad I did.
See, since I started this blog, the word simplicity has been recurring in my mind and I've been trying to keep it there, especially when I start to get impatient. This word implanted itself in my mind as I turned my face toward the window and I saw what my grandmother saw...and I realized: the beauty of something is not based on how "rare & valuable" it is, it is based on how valuable you allow it to be to you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"It is Good."

On the plane ride over to Hawaii a few days ago, I was able to capture this picture during landing. It took my breath away to look out the window and see that mountain range unfolding in all its majesty from under the gossamer shroud of downy clouds which at one time hid it from my view.
As I gazed on this sight from my perch in the sky, words from an old, familiar song came to mind:

"How can I stand here with You and not be moved by You? Would You tell me, how could it be any better than this?" 

Often times we take in the beauty that surrounds us, but we forget how that beauty came to be. Was it by chance that this mountain began to loom up from beneath the clouds just as my flight passed over? If one were to answer yes, I'd refuse to believe it. The mountain did not simply resolve in itself to be shown at the time I was passing by. On its own, the mountain is nothing!
Why do humans universally marvel at beautiful things such as the regal colors of the sky reflected sumptuously off the clouds?
Why are we struck with such wonder at the variety of life in the Sea?
Why is the birth of a new life such a magnificent thing in our eyes?

I believe it is because although we may not always be aware of it, we have a natural tendency to love that which He loves. God looks on the colors of the sky, the life in sea, the coming of new life, and all the rest of His creation and calls all things Good.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beauty in the Broken

This morning, I woke up in my typical state of mind: tired, hungry, and CRITICAL.
Tired, obviously, because I had just woken up.
Hungry, because I hadn't eaten in nearly 9 hours.
Critical, because it has always been a flaw of mine.

You see, this morning in particular, I was to be coerced into attending my grandparents' church, which I had been informed was small and simple. At the utterance of those two words, my brain and heart closed to the idea.  I woke up, dressed to impress, and ascended from the door of my grandfather's Prius with the mindset of a Kardashian and the swagger of Trey Songz. I was not at all surprised by the fact that there were only 11 cars in the lot (yes, I counted), and I couldn't help but feel my nose turn up involuntarily at the idea of such a small environment. I walked through the doors as I vowed to myself: "I will be friendly and I will not display my pride."
I was graciously greeted by a flood of smiling faces, smothered in warm, genuine hugs, and overwhelmed with compliments. It was like stepping out from under a rain cloud.
The service began after we had all taken part in a delicious potluck breakfast, and I was blown away. Although literally half the congregation was in the front leading worship, the freedom with which they lifted their praises was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Even the children sang along, lifted their hands, and danced with Joy as the music swelled. Everyone's body language, way of speaking, and movements were so different but it was apparent to even the most critical of eyes that they all lived for one purpose: to glorify GOD. They were not there only to socialize and show off their talents, they were there to fulfill the purpose endowed them by their Creator. Worship continued for nearly an hour and I stood, frozen in awe at the power that this little group of people possessed. Here I was, thinking that I was all that and a bag of chips, not open to receiving the blessing that God wanted me to receive through this tight-knit family of believers.
Their music was simple.
Their environment was simple.
Their actions were simple.
And yet, all three were unbelievably beautiful.

I am so thankful that I was "forced" to be in attendance this morning, or my eyes would still be tightly sealed to the natural beauty that surrounds me on a daily basis.