Monday, February 20, 2012

Sometimes It's Only A Whisper

We awoke this morning to a winter wonderland, and it would be impossible to miss the beauty of the day.
I have been thinking a lot about 'beauty' lately.
I've been thinking  how  discovering and cherishing beauty in our lives has everything to do with gratefulness.

When I look for the lovely, my gaze is drawn outside of myself to the creator of all; I am no longer focused on my own needs and shortcomings. For brief moments, I am made whole.

John O'Donohue, in his book, Beauty,  writes:

Yet beauty's visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm, it calls us to feel, think and act beautifully in the world: to create and live a life that awakens the Beautiful. A life without delight is only half a life. Lest this be construed as a plea for decadence or a self-indulgence that is blind to the horrors of the world, we should remember that beauty does not restrict its visitations only to those whom fortune or circumstances favor. Indeed, it is often the whispers and glimpses of beauty which enable people to endure on desperate frontiers. Even, and perhaps especially, in the bleakest times, we can still discover and awaken beauty; these are precisely the times when we need it most.
(pg 13)

I recently finished reading the amazing biography of Corrie Ten Boom , The Hiding Place. Incidentally, it is the only book I have ever seen on Amazon to get only four and five star reviews! The life of the Ten Boom family is an incredible testimony of faith and bravery. Corrie and her family members spent several years in a Nazi concentration camp. They were guilty of hiding and aiding Jews during the Holocaust.

At one point, due to a blood- producing cough, Corrie was placed in solitary confinement. Cold, alone, and shut up in a squalid dank cell, she had little to be thankful for. But Corrie always seemed to find solace and faith in what beauty there was.

She writes:

     In only one way was this new cell an improvement over the first one. It had a window. Seven iron bars ran across it, four bars up and down. It was high in the wall, much too high to look out of, but through those twenty-eight squares I could see the sky.

          All day I kept my eyes fixed on that bit of heaven. Sometimes clouds moved across the squares, white or pink or edged with gold, and when the wind was from the west I could hear the sea. Best of all, for nearly an hour each day, gradually lengthening as the spring sun rose higher, a shaft of checkered light streamed into the dark little room. As the weather turned warmer and I grew stronger I would stand up to catch the sunshine on my face and chest, moving along the wall with the moving light, climbing at last onto the cot to stand on tiptoe in the final rays.
(p 139)

Beauty does not always shout. We must sometimes strain to hear her voice amidst the discordant banging and clatter of life. But one thing is certain: behind the faintest whisper, she is always there, echoing the voice of our loving creator.