Be a beauty seeker.
This is what I tell myself when I’m scared and worried, when I scroll through the news on my social feeds and it creates more fear than my body can sometimes handle.
When fear grips me, I focus on the beauty of my surroundings and the people near me. Whether that beauty is the yellows and reds that are showing up in the leaves or the moment my mom steps through the door at 3 am, making it safely home after being gone for two weeks. It’s the beauty that the moment means that holds me together.
This past week I read Aundi Kolber’s book Try Softer. There is so much I want to say about this book but I’ll have to save that for another post. In the book she quotes John O’Donohue:
“Beauty isn’t all about just nice loveliness… beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming. So I think beauty, in that sense, is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.”
It’s not just about loveliness, it paying attention to the great senses around, me, you, us. I want to live in the depth of beauty of the world around me. Beauty from nature and people. Joyous beauty that stems and grows out of the pain and anxiety of this life.
The beauty of independence and pain that comes from an empty first apartment.
The beauty that comes with staying at home during a pandemic, with people who love you and who let you stay.
The beauty of deep roots in your hometown, blooming where you’re planted.
The beauty of the guitar music flowing down the hallway.
The beauty of late nights driving home with my Plus 1, our eyes tired, night lights shining on our faces through the windshield.
The beauty of an early morning with coffee brewing, the nearness a cold of winter creeping in, hugging against the kitchen window.
The beauty of photos taken on birthdays and anniversaries. When you’re so excited or nervous your hands shake resulting in a blurred, grainy photo of the beauty of the moment.
The beauty of days where you get pizza and a movie and cuddle up with a blanket and rest from a busy week.
The beauty of dirty dishes in the sink because after a dinner that was delicious and left you too tired to clean.
The beauty of a backyard full of family that you haven’t see together in months.
The beauty of working through anxiety slowly, surely, coming home to yourself in the process.
Sometimes the beauty isn’t what it always looks like, but it’s what it means. These are the types of beauty I love and I’m seeking. These are the moments of beauty I’m grateful for.
Getting closer and closer to this beautifulness. Each day I want to come near in search and connect with the beauty around me and the lives we all live together on this earth. I feel as if so many people are distancing themselves from each other due to politics and differences and disagreements of the world these days. This may be on the verge of being cliche, but I think this is where we need to come together the most.
In Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Dead Comes,” she writes of living fully present to the beauty of each person and moment of life. Her final stanza ends this way: “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
I want to live in a way thats not just surviving or striving or getting by.
Oliver’s gorgeous words here are like a beacon for all of us who want to do more than survive, do desire the abundant life of which Jesus speaks (John 10:10). And perhaps this abundance is not made up of wealth and stuff, perfectionism or business…
but of awareness, beauty, presence, and connection.
This is the beauty I want to seek, this is the way I want to live.