Posted by: Kris Lindsey | June 4, 2014

Beauty Heals

Lines and phrases from the speech I’d given at Toastmasters the night before played over and over in my head. Yes, the speech had gone well, but I had this sinking feeling that something was wrong.

Oh yea—Ollie.

The day before, with God’s help, I’d quickly dealt with my feelings about the owling’s traumatic encounter with hawks and resulting fall from the nest, and then put the issue aside to prepare for my speech. But now that the speech was done, I felt sad that Ollie was no longer in a place of security, and wondered about the owlet’s fate.

I’d asked God to take care of the little bird—the Bible says God knows about every bird that falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29). But I still needed to deal with my feelings of loss.

Then I realized my speech might provide the answer. I’d talked about the subject of beauty from the book Captivating by John and Stacy Eldredge. I’d always thought of beauty as superfluous—nice to have around but not in any way necessary—until the Eldredges pointed out beauty’s usefulness.

As an example, they said to first imagine you’re stuck in traffic for an hour, with exhaust fumes, and horns honking. Then remember what it feels like to come into a beautiful place—like a garden, with rose bushes, and weeping willow trees by a pond. You can rest. It’s good. Beauty says “all is well.”

They also pointed out that beauty comforts. When someone dies, we send flowers, because only a gift of beauty says enough, and says it right.

This sounded like what I needed—a dose of God’s beautiful creation to comfort my loss, and to replace this “something was wrong” feeling with a sense of wellbeing. I looked out my back window at the catmint plants in temporary pots, and decided to treat myself by taking some time to plant these delicate purple flowers in my yard.

catmint

The sprigs of fragrant blossoms tickled my nose as I leaned over and shoveled soil into the hole around the roots, and patted the loose soil into place. I breathed in the faint smell of mint and moist dirt, and then leaned back to take in the new scene.

The purple spears did look lovely next to the granite outcropping. I looked up and surveyed the rest of the yard—coneflowers and rock rose bushes, liquid amber trees and oaks. After reading Captivating, I now saw that God didn’t make a functional world that is beautiful; God made a beautiful world that is functional. We’re living in a masterpiece.

As I gazed at the beauty around me, I did feel more at peace. From now on, I’m going to make a point to drink in God’s beautiful creation when I’m feeling down.

 

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