“We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” CS Lewis
It’s what happens after the long lament: the quiet numbness left after the weeping. And it’s the first whispers of peace. The Psalms say: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” (Ps 30:5) but most of the time, joy must be sought, hunted right down. After the lament, we have sent Jesus our pain and space has been made in our hearts. In then right there in the wide open space left, joy has been given room to spread. Numbness and perhaps peace comes after the lament, but joy? We must choose joy.
Will we choose life?
Will we choose the goodness of God expressed right here on this unique crosshair of latitude and longitude?
Now here’s the question that I’ve lived with for the last six months: Can I trust God’s hand of goodness to spread a table right here? (Ps 23:5 and 78:19) Can I trust that there will be enough…and if God is the host, that there will be a generous feast spread out in the midst of my wilderness.
Today we begin hunting for the feast.
Friday morning I found it. The children and I blew our breaths toward the neighbor’s roof across the road so we could see the clouds we made from our exhaling. Later I glanced toward the pond to the right of our entrance as I drove Andrew to work and saw the mist rising from the water. It was a whisper, a quiet invitation to be immersed in beauty.
Back at home I grabbed wool hat and sweater and camera and walked through the neighborhood to the pine woods spread around the north side of the pond. As I knelt down to capture images, pine needles crunched underfoot. All around me birds chirped a chaos of their morning waking up.
Beauty heals. Being immersed in beauty reminds us there is goodness we don’t create, that the table is spread and we are invited to eat.
The heavens declare the glory of God not because they tell the weather but because they astonish. We stand by open-mouthed and our capacity for wonder, for awe builds. And perhaps as Dosteoyevsky said, “Beauty WILL save the earth” not because it sparkles and makes us want to possess it, but because it points to a place outside of us and up to a glory with depths we cannot fathom. Beauty speaks of God.
I tramped through the woods for a view of the northeast corner of the pond and stopped breathing. A great white egret was holding court over white ducks in the corner of the pond. She was preening, spreading her wings. In the middle of her cleaning, she sensed my presence. I had raised my camera to shoot and she took off accompanied by the ducks. I only barely captured the ducks and a complete blurry photographic mistake became my favorite shot of the morning. Visual poetry.
She took flight
white whispering across dark pines.
Her wild presence met the systematic syncopation
of our suburban tidiness,
deigning to give our neighborhood an audience
and touch our ordinary with her regal soar
into our grounded
Action: Be immersed in beauty:
A sail across the lake,
A hike into the cool of covering trees,
A walk through the farmer’s market, tasting as you go,
Baking cookies with the children,
A glass of wine on the porch listening to the birds,
A picnic at a beautiful park,
Count the gifts spread out. And you, my friend, as you have time, read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts…or reread it in the midst of this major change.
We’re on a 31 day journey toward falling in love with our zip code. Our family just moved down five states south and are loving the warm October. Would you like to come along? Slip your email address (I’ll guard it with my life) into the CONNECT box on the front page and we’ll journey together.Start here.