Desperately needing beauty 

Right now, things feel heavy and dark. The economy, supply chain issues, gas prices, a pandemic, cultural divisions, mistrust of social institutions, crime, violence, and saber rattling from America’s adversaries. Beauty and goodness are the opposite of darkness. As humans, we are drawn to beauty and long for things that sparkle and shine. All over the world, in the most desperate of neighborhoods, people plant flowers, paint their apartments, find things that are pleasing to the eye and decorate their surroundings. As a world traveler, I have visited with those who are the most under-resourced in third world countries. Yet, when they greet you, they are wearing their finest clothes, even if they are torn and tattered. It appears to be universal.  

When darkness or death is near, flowers are what people bring. Why do people bring flowers to the hospital, to a funeral or to a site where death and destruction has occurred?  What is it about flowers that are healing?  In flowers, as in all of nature, there is unspeakable and extravagant beauty. When we hear or experience ugliness, darkness or evil, beauty is what we long for. There is power in beauty. Beauty helps us overcome violence, destruction, and sadness. It lifts us out of our circumstances and gives us hope. Beauty is found in the orderliness of the universe, the consistency of the sunrise, the stars, beaches, forests, mountains, wildlife, in music and the arts.   

Have you ever been to a concert where the music was so extravagantly beautiful and powerful, it left you speechless? I recently attended a symphony concert. At the end of the powerful classical Beethoven piece, there was 30 seconds of silence. The audience was catching their collective breath before it broke out in thunderous applause. That is the power of beauty.  

With darkness around us in the form of mass shootings, crime, bullying, blaming, and shaming, we need sunrises, sunsets, flowers, music, and rainbows. We need the beauty of kindness, compassion, empathy and caring. We need to reach toward a higher power that is the essence of transcendent beauty and goodness. We need something to hold onto, to give us hope and healing.  We need to seek beauty out and search for it. When we find it, we need to bask in the glory of it, marvel, and bathe in it. 

We cannot stay in a dark place for long. It effects our brain in a negative and depressing manner. Hope, light, and beauty will help us snap out of it. We need to be awestruck and breathless at the beauty around us. It happens when a baby is born, a puppy sits on our lap, a stranger becomes a friend, a meal is shared, a tear is wiped away, a hug is given to comfort and connect. Beauty is something that goes beyond the nature of our senses, it weakens our knees, and gives us goosebumps. Hope is anchored in beauty. Amid unspeakable evil, death, and destruction, let’s search for, embrace, and experience the beauty that is all around us. Beauty, goodness, and truth will transform us, give us hope as we press on to overcome such a time as this.