Day 4: For Beauty

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
— Ashley Smith

Smith gives us a command: Notice beauty.

It's as if we might need to make a date with Beauty to rediscover her. Where we clear some time, put down anything that glows, and get some fresh air.

Stop. Breathe. Notice.

Nature has a way of silencing me with her beauty, of giving me perspective. With her leaves brighter than my dim heart and her trees bigger than all my fears, I get a fresh look at my small problems. 

Trees and rivers and hills and lakes and sunsets and skies in any color you want. If I take the time. Can we take the time today? Could we get alone and take a walk (just TEN minutes) and notice November beauty on purpose? Let's do it. Let me know what thankfulness you find; clear skies can clear hearts. 

And then there's “God’s handwriting” as Emerson calls beauty. The kind that's in the creases of our everyday pages.

This is the kind when we are very much on our way. When we aren't stopping; we are going about our day. We hear the silly giggles of an older child chasing the littlest, as we unload the dishwasher. Sunlight catches the stairway in an alluring pattern, as we take folded laundry to bedrooms.  We find a father throwing a simple ball in the street with his son, as we back out of the driveway.

And aren't we thankful? For the beauty we stop to find and the beauty that stops to find us.

Beauty heals, restores, lightens the load. Beauty gives grace where we thought there was none. Gives light in the darkness. Gives hope in the desperate places. 

We find beauty when we are open to the idea that when something is buried, then something beautiful can grow. 

God, thank you for beauty. It is your gift, your joy in creation, your fresh air for our tired lungs. Help us to see beauty. See it even when we've closed our eyes to it; notice it when life is loud and spinning. Thank you for nature and human beings and art, for baseball games and little sticky fingers and hearts full of possibility.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them A CROWN OF BEAUTY instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
— Isaiah 61 (caps mine)
God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!
It was evening, it was morning—
Day Six.
— -Genesis 1