Or does it?
“I don’t have the strength to engage beauty.”
He said it with resignation. I have been sitting with his statement for a while now. Does it really take energy to interact with beauty? For me, at least the past decade or so, my receptors have been maturing in all things aesthetic. Whether it be nature or music or woven words or visual art I sense a wooing, like someone saying “pssst, over here, look!” Receiving comes fairly easy, yet I think my friend is right. It is not effortless. Beauty doesn’t come barging in without knocking. We have to be open.
Then I asked myself how a person can get to a point where beauty becomes a beast. Before awakened by a poem over a decade ago, why was I walking by roses with my nose in the air? Why was the thought of engaging a rose a thorn in my flesh?
I asked my friend why he didn’t have the strength.
“There is too much crap in my life. It has drained me. I don’t have an ounce left to see how you see right now.”
I know his life and he is absolutely right. There is a lot of crap. It takes energy to ‘deal’ with crap too. Then I wondered if I am living in a state of denial because there is crap in my life too. I began asking myself if I was delusional. Am I not ‘dealing’ with it? I’ll ask my wife. She will know.
In the mean time I ache. The ache is for my friend and others who don’t have an ounce to spare. They stop to smell the roses and all they feel is the prick of a thorn.
I asked another friend for thoughts on this topic and the response added new light.
“Hurt and pain creates walls.
Anger creates a thick buffer to beauty,
stiff arming, and squeezing eyes shut.
The truth of it, though,
is that once you open to beauty
it feeds…it does not drain/pull/deplete.”
Openness to beauty is a perspective. It is an attitude. It is almost an altitude. A rising above, suspending, transcending the crap of this life in which we live. There is hurt and pain in this life. Anyone saying it doesn’t exist is delusional. But in and through the sharp points grows life up to the buds, petals, color, and grace of beauty.
Give us eyes to see.
It takes faith, trust, and hope to allow ourselves to receive beauty, because at any moment the uglies of existence can block our view.
“Beauty for ashes” is my prayer, and the grace to receive the beauty.
“Give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them ‘Oaks of Righteousness’ planted by God to display his glory.” Isaiah 61:3 The Message
This discussion could go on for quite a while. Do you have any thoughts on this? Care to join in?