You said beauty was one of three things from which we bind ourselves.
We? How about narrowing it down to just you. Beauty and you.
You mean beauty and the beast?
No, be careful now. Don’t put words in My mouth. I simply want to focus on your relationship with beauty.
Beauty is a beast. Relationship? What?
Do you really believe it is a beast?
Honestly, I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention lately. Beauty is a beast in the wild sense I suppose. Untamable, free, and independent of the shackles of opinion and attention. It is free standing whether I notice it or not. It is patient. It doesn’t force its way, and yet–
Beauty still pursues.
Yes. Pursues. Woos. Invites. Even wounds, or breaks open old wounds. For me it breaks open my heart sometimes if I let it.
Like when you experienced the Nutcracker ballet or the first time you saw “The Death of a Swan” from Swan Lake?
Yes, I remember turning to Barbara at the Nutcracker and without saying a word, we both knew beauty was taking us somewhere. But there have been other times when it seemed I was hijacked like on the way back from Wyoming. We saw a cowboy leaning on the horn of his saddle on a high bluff at sunset. Western cliché in living color. I shook my head in disbelief and then pointed. “Look! Barbara, Maria, look at that!”
Let’s call them gifts. My love doesn’t hijack, at least not in the way you use the word.
Beauty is an expression of Your love?
Definitely. Beauty is all around waiting, wooing, inviting, pursuing, all like you said. Beauty can scrape off old scabs and blood-let the suppressed pain into the oxygen rich air, if you allow it.
So, the blood-letting kind of beauty is what we bind ourselves from?
Yes, but not exclusively. Really any kind of beauty has the propensity to usher in fear. You know how it is said beauty is fleeting?
Do you remember the time you took your son Nathan to South Manitou Island? You sat with a journal on a sand stoked cliff overlooking Lake Michigan. The cusp of a new day, a breeze stroking your hair, and the distant lapping of waves on the shore brought emotion tumbling down your face. Remember how you wished you were an artist with oils to try to replicate the scene so you could take the vision, coupled with the emotion, home with you? You wanted to Van Gogh the ambiance and hang it on the wall of your memory.
You were there?
Yes, and I remember you not wanting to leave. Do you recall just before you and Nathan hopped on the boat to return to the mainland?
I jumped in the Great Lake. I was hot and filthy from camping without a shower. The water was crystal and the floor of the lake was in high definition. That was the most refreshing dunk in a lake that I can recall. It was–
Simply put. Yes, it was beautiful.
Hmmm. Well, it was an all-points-bulletin, a pan-sensual wink and nod. Geez, I don’t know. The smell of the sun baked sand, the sea gulls nagging for food, and my son standing on the dock casually wearing my genes imbedded my soul like shards of an epiphany. Then I dove in. As my body slid through the surface from fingertip to toenail, I might as well have been breaking though the ozone layer into the Sea of Tranquility. The veneer of campfire smoke and sleeping bag sweat was peeled away by the stiff cold water. I felt baptized into a Monet. Dabbed brushings of muted sounds and color refreshed my sense of wonder. I wished I had taken a deeper breath.
For a few moments the cool blue submerged some wandering loneliness within me. I went beneath the loneliness into cold solitude. My hands sifted through the sandy bottom. I turned and saw my son waiting for me on the dock. Waiting for me like a mirage. All my children wait for me and my heart breaks.
Beautiful lacerations. It’s okay to let the blood flow. Can I hold your heart in the cool clear?
I don’t know. I’m scared. Give me courage to hold Your gaze, at least enough eye contact to sear this detachment I feel. I long to call You Father with all my bleeding and all my bleating as Your little wandering lamb. I’m a mess.
A beautiful mess. Your brokenness is like a baptism into the cleansing. I know your trust issues. I know where your mind fails to connect with your heart. I know how your father-issues have melded into misinterpretations of who I Am.
A beautiful mess? You lost me.
I found you. Ah, Jerry, remember My ways are not your ways, neither My thoughts your thoughts. What if you had found a shower and scrubbed down before reaching the dock? The dive in wouldn’t have been as refreshing now would it? Maybe you wouldn’t have felt the need to break the surface. Sure, a shower would make a great metaphor of my cleansing power, but I know you. I know what turns your crank. You are always looking for what’s under the surface.
God? Father, are You always under the surface?