And the day God breathed upon your still life, stirring into being the green leaf and the flower, bud upon the branch and light
upon your soul. Here you felt the earth’s air on your petals and your leaves, and squinted into sunlight, gazing high for heaven
until you felt the gardener’s hand gently turning soil and soul, and nurturing you, bud in radiant sun.
Cascading rain absorbed in warm earth turning, heaven of fragrance. What is that sound in the wind and dazzling light?
Oh, the sweet sound of your delight in God. Sometimes it is like the sound of running laughter.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pursuit of the Beautiful

Some few days back I came across my last birthday card from my 23-year-old son. On it he had quoted Frank Floyd Wright, “If you invest in beauty it will remain with you all the days of your life.” As I read the words, I was again wonderfully touched that he had given this to me. And it got me thinking. Why do men of his age, striking out on their own and occupied with the careers and relationships and a thousand other important things, bother to wonder about “beauty” and “all the days of your life”? I think the answer is that my son truly values beauty and things much bigger than just a career – things bigger than the world or himself. We focus on and pursue those things that we value. I know my son, and I know he loves beauty, but he loves so much more. He loves to write music and poetry and to read truly good literature. Yet it’s not just him. His 29-year-old sister sent me the lyrics to a song she is working on; a poem she has been composing for some time. We pursue those things that we really value – like beauty. Sometimes beauty comes as a tender song, a touching poem, a worthy idea, or even a good brush on canvas. These things need to be woven into our lives, into our fingers, and into our minds and hearts; an atmosphere for loving beautiful things, of music being made and books being read and painting or drawing. And other beautiful things like caring for others and helping someone in need, or simply listening: pursuit of the beautiful.

Late afternoon today I squeezed a five miler in between dropping off and picking up my 13-year-old son from his activities. The temperature was hovering just above 0 at a tasty 2F - though feeling much colder. I did a little over four circuits in Purgatory Park. The circuits are 1.23 miles during which you ascend 527 feet and descend 555. This is true if you climb to the park’s summit each time around and take in the view. I love to do this. It is the view I'm after, the beauty. Each time around I know that I will climb to the top and look – even if only for a moment – at the broad expanse spread out before me. The view looks westward. Over the years I’ve seen glorious sunsets and lazy afternoons and stormy wall clouds and much more. And I’ve shared the view with the rising sun on many mornings: the sun just peeking over the horizon and me gazing across the park at the wonders that God has made. Yes, pursuing beauty and so many other things. I think God calls us to this: to see His reflection in a thousand small moments each day. One good spot to catch a glimpse is the summit in Purgatory Park.

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