My daughter is beautiful, stunningly beautiful.
The above picture I believe captures her natural beauty, personality, character, innocence and playfulness. I realize that my interpretation of her beauty is subjective. You may think that my daughter is cute, but find that your child is actually the most gorgeous in the world. And so it goes with every parent on the planet. It is easy to be blown away by our children’s beauty. To be captivated by beauty of any kind is necessary to all of humanity. This is why we need great paintings, music and films. We need beauty to captivate us, inspire us, and move us from complacency to action, to transformation. As one of my favorite authors, Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “Beauty will save the world.”
It does. It has. And it will continue to do so.
I had never really thought about beauty as a saving power. Since the birth of my daughter this has changed. I am surrounded by many beautiful things my wife being one of thee most beautiful. Even though beauty surrounds me often I tend to ignore it, or not allow it to drive me towards transformation.
I used to drive across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the state of Maryland all the time. The view from that bridge is pretty spectacular. On one side you have a great shot of Washington DC that is postcard worthy. On the other side sits the National Harbor, which has become a visual masterpiece, particularly at night with its lights. Most of the time my focus was on the traffic that builds up on the bridge. Not postcard worthy. Getting to work on time and wishing I could live closer to work were the usual domination thoughts and focus as I slowly crossed this bridge. Beauty literally flanked me and these were my thoughts.
We do this often.
We put on the blinders and push through because we have deadlines, places to be, and people to meet. Yet, beauty continues to call on us; to draw us in so that we can seize to be complacent; to move us into action; to transform us. Beauty asks us to slow down. To see. To listen. To gaze. Life is too good and too beautiful to be lived at 90 mph. If we want to enjoy it we have to take it in, slowly. Driving past the Mona Lisa is very different than standing in front of it for a while.
This is why a relationship with God (the originator of all that is beautiful) necessarily requires that we slow down, listen and spend time in His presence—what I would call gazing. Beauty draws us into an intimate place where we are able to see, listen and gaze, but it also draws out the gifts we have been given. Beauty stirs within us and in that stirring those gifts surface. We recognize these gifts and are challenged to use them. Action. Transformation. My daughter has helped me in this tremendously. All it takes is a moment in front of her and beauty moves me.
A new year lies ahead of us. We can chose to put the blinders on and go through it as if it were a race to be run. Or, we can allow ourselves to be stirred by the beauty that surrounds us, because “Beauty will save the world”. It does. It has. And it will continue to do so.