The soft pink spine of the small, slim gift book easily distinguishes it from its neighbors.
Retrieving it from my library shelf, my eyes linger on the cover. Wreathed in a frame of delicate rose blossoms, a whimsical portrait depicts two children. A little girl is cuddling a kitten. Beside her, a tiny boy has one arm wrapped around her shoulder. His free hand rests between the cat’s ears. The title of the book above the frame simply reads “Quiet Thoughts”. Beneath the frame, in smaller letters I read: “Words of Happiness and Inspiration”.
The inscription on the fly leaf has my name, the identity of the giver, and the date I received the gift -1970 – more than thirty-five years ago. The first inspirational quote states:
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Emerson.
Though in my adolescent years I didn’t really understand what the quote meant, those words have stayed with me. Through life experience and extensive reading, the phrase has come to represent a quality of being. It resides in the soul-self and manifests in relationship to the exterior world. The characteristic of the beautiful is implied in 1 Peter 3:4 “Let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
How does one attain a beautiful spirit? Ephesians 3:17 suggests it is “being rooted and grounded in love”. It is being rooted and grounded in God, who is Love and Beauty in all its perfection. It is striving to make Love known by living in harmony within all our relationships; be it to God, the self, humanity, or the earth.
True beauty is living according to the Divine Way. Micah 6:8
The beautiful is lived when we embrace our most uncommon self – our unique characteristics and gifts, the signature of the Author of our lives. Psalm 139:13-14
The beautiful is known in the belief that the Incarnate can be encountered in ordinary events and relationships, and invites a response. Matthew 25:40
Grounded in the Spirit of Divine Love and living in the Spirit of Divine Love: we carry the beautiful within us; we encounter the beautiful outside of us; and we become beautiful to those who behold us.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Emerson
It is no wonder I could not fathom the depths of these words in my younger years. Though it sounds like a simple truth, it is grounded in an understanding born of the Spirit, and expressed through humanity living in harmony with the earth.
Note: Scriptural references are drawn from the NRSV translation.
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