What would you think of as beautiful in your last season of this life?
I may take that question to work, where people go to live during this great transition. I learn a lot there, where most conversations revolve around family: theirs, mine, and whoever else has one.
Children are incontestably beautiful. They celebrate life in so many colors and
expressions, it’s hard not to look at them as canvases of the most divine kind of art. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to raise them—we don’t want to unintentionally shape a Monet into a Picasso if that’s not who they are meant to be.
Speaking of art—if my “ship” ever makes it through all the cactus and dust devils, bringing treasures beyond my expectations—I hope it’s full of art to fill my walls with. I can’t get enough—Impressionism, Renaissance art, Contemporary…maybe even an art studio of my own, because to me, life without art means a life without beauty.
At the retirement resort, there used to be a group of ladies who, at the first sign of a fire truck, would gather in one of the lobbies to watch the firemen walk by (unfortunately, they were usually accompanied by an ambulance). Young and fit people will always have an audience.
But really, when we reach that phase where our human side starts to peel away from the eternal—what will we remember as truly beautiful?
My daughter is seven, and in public school. She’s reached that point where she’s gaining that early foundation of experience. She’s a butterfly—sweet and quiet (at school), and full of color (strong-willed monkey at home). Her teachers would like to see her speak up more in class, speak louder—find her confidence. We do our best to build her up—we even signed her up for ballet where she can express her creative side within a group.
But a person has to uncover their light on their own accord.
When a boy in her class kept coming in without lunch, and worried about his parents “illnesses”, she found her voice, taking him to the lunchroom supervisors and asking if they would give him a free meal. For those of you who have never been shy this may seem like plain old common sense, but all those former and practicing wallflowers will recognize what a leap of faith this was for someone afraid to raise her hand.
This, to me, is beauty at its brightest. It’s reaching beyond our own comforts, switching on that stubborn lamp, and letting the eternal side shine through the human side.
King David, in his early years as a shepherd boy, was described as beautiful.
“So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 1 Samuel 16:12 (emphasis mine)
I’m sure he was made “good-looking” for a reason, but is that what made him “the one”?
When I look at Michelangelo’s David, I see the story of him—the slingshot, the strength of body and spirit—the shepherd boy who stepped forward to save his people.
The statue will eventually crumble, but the part of him that made him a legend came from the Divine.
What do you think is eternally beautiful? Tell us in the comments.