There was a rainbow stretching across the Columbia River on Friday. It looked like hand-blown glass bridging the shores of Oregon with those of Washington. It was really beautiful.
My daughters are beautiful. No. I mean, really beautiful. They aren’t beautiful in the way of the Kardashian girls. My girls have all their original body parts. They all work-out, stay fit, and eat right. (They did not learn that from me. Or if they did it was more of a do as I say, not as I do thing).
But what makes them really beautiful is them. The inside of them. Each one is so very creative. They paint, they write, they sew, they cook, they mentor, they encourage, & they are always thinking of ways in which they can serve other people — even their daddy and me. If you knew their hearts the way I do, you’d see their beauty, too.
My son has the most beautiful hair in the whole family. It’s thick and has natural curl. And he’s got beautiful green eyes, with long lashes like his daddy’s. He’s creative, too. Everyday at Colonial Williamsburg, he’s creating one scene after another. He researches and writes and creates. And on the rare occasions when his daddy and I get to see him perform, well, it’s a thing of beauty. We both come away so proud.
I feel that same sort of pride on Friday nights when I sit high up in the stands and watch as my husband and the other coaches stand in allegiance to the flag. I know that my husband, the history teacher, understands what allegiance means so much better than me. Every single day he wears a bracelet to school — a black bracelet engraved with my father’s name and the date of his death in Vietnam. He says had my father not lost his life in Vietnam, he may never have met me, might not have ever married me. He says he owes my father for the life he gave. That’s such a beautiful and bittersweet thought it makes me weep.
Every Labor Day we have a big reunion at the beach with our good friends the Wrights. We do the same thing every year: we play volleyball, we walk the beach, we eat all our meals together, including the traditional crab boil, and we tell stories. The place we stay is small but it is such a beautiful spot, surrounded by wildflowers in full-bloom.
My neighbor Sarah grows wildflowers in her yard. She’s got one of the most beautiful yards in the neighborhood. She’s mixes manure in the sand and saves the seeds from last season to plant again. It’s a blessing to see all the results of the hard work Sarah puts into her yard. I get to sit on my porch and appreciate it all summer long.
Sarah and her husband are beautiful people. No. I mean physically. Really beautiful. I like it when Ethan hugs me. He hugs me a lot. It makes me feel like I’m one of the beautiful people in the world, too, like Ethan and Sarah. I own a mirror so I know I’m really just an aging lady, but Ethan and Sarah always bring out the beauty in me by the way they love me.
As I sit typing this my daughter Ashley just sent me the following text message: “I was reading about Eleanor Roosevelt and this quote made me think of you: ‘She intended to interest people and bring about discussion. She led by being a catalyst for change and created an environment where followers became leaders as they were drawn into her stories and motivated to act by her vision.'”
That’s beautiful, isn’t it? That a daughter would think that of a mother? Doesn’t matter if it accurately describes me or not — what matters is that when my Ashley looks upon me she sees me, despite all my flaws, as worthy.
God does that, too, you know — sees us through the eyes of beauty.
There’ s an excellent article in Christianity Today by Christine A. Scheller about a woman who spends a great deal of money on art. Roberta Ahmanson explained that what we adore shapes us : “We worship dead things, we become dead. We worship the living God, we become alive,” she says. “And one of the attributes of that living God is beauty. Beauty leads us to him. We really cannot live without it.”
Beauty leads us to Him.
I have heard a lot of sermons in my life. A gazillion of them by now. I’ve heard all about the characteristics of God — his wrath, his mercy, his justice, his grace.
I have heard sermons preached in favor of the argument of God as Creator, but nothing about God’s creative, artistic nature.
And I have never, not once, ever heard a sermon about how God is beauty, about how beauty leads us to discover God.