Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)
TITLE: Find Beauty In All Things
By Allen Stark
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This is what was going through my mind as I drove the two miles to the house my wife and I had paid the first month's rent on and given a security deposit so my daughter and her family could move out of our home.
So here I was, ringing the doorbell of their house after being told emphatically that they didn't want anything more to do with us because we wouldn’t buy them a home. My daughter stepped onto the front steps, saying, “I can't invite you in.” I began by asking if there was anything more I could do to change their minds. After about five minutes, my son-in-law opened the front door and began assaulting me with a tirade of expletives I had never before heard from anyone.
I looked at my daughter with tears in my eyes and said, “Well, I guess there's nothing more I can say or do. I guess if you agree with your husband, we won't be seeing any more of you this side of Heaven. I hope we both make it dear, so we can have a new start.” I then turned, with tears streaming down my face, and drove away.
In my basement office I sat staring out the window at a gray sky. But then my eyes wandered over to my cork board where I had hung a picture of me addressing my granddaughter's kindergarten class just a few weeks earlier. There she stood with the most beautiful smile. My heart began to take on new warmth as I realized I needed to look for the beauty in life.
Simone Weil is absolutely right when he says, “beauty and affliction are the only two things that can pierce our hearts.” Because this is true, we must have a measure of beauty in our lives proportionate to our affliction. This is God's prescription for us. Just take a look around. The sights and sounds, the aromas and sensations—out of winter God brings us a beautiful springtime. If you look, you will find that your world is overflowing with beauty. God knows we need a lot of it in our lives.
At the time, however, I was at a loss to say what I wanted to say regarding beauty. So God, and I now believe it was him and no one else, sent me the following message, because there was no “to” or “from” lines on the email:
“I want to speak to you about seeing light in the darkness of sadness, of finding beauty in a field of weeds. I want you to seek for joy where there is pain. Find beauty in endings, which can lead to new beginnings.
I want you to see the beauty inside everyone who passes by you each day and in particular those whose only purpose is to inject hatred and ugliness into your life.
Perhaps you had hoped to expose the beauty in asking to be forgiven.
I long for you to see the beauty in both reaching down to help someone and reaching up in search of help for yourself.
Take a walk in the woods in search of one beautiful thing to prove my point. As you walk through the weeds, downed trees and thorny bushes beginning to tear at your flesh, daring you to give up, you will most likely come upon the beauty you are searching for.
Every obstacle, every thorn in your skin is necessary to reach your goal—the flowers I have planted to bring beauty and joy in your life.
For as you have walked your road, you have welcomed into your life what I have intended. As your days fill with love, warmth and joy, my many prayers for you will be answered.”
Beauty does have a healing power. It comforts and soothes. It stirs us, moves and inspires us. That may sound ridiculous, so I ask that you call upon your own memories and thoughts as you have grown through adulthood, your own experiences with beauty. Think of that special piece of music, that landscape, sunset.
Look for and find the beauty. It is a gift from the Creator. It helps in our letting go.
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