making room for beauty

It’s a small gesture, leaving our blinds cracked instead of fully closed. Our bed faces the sunrise, and every morning in the winter I like to watch the yellow rays piercing the darkness of the room, the darkness of the cold. And I am warmer looking at it. Enjoying the sun for what it is.

Our small kitchen table, bought in Sri Lanka, rocks and its days are numbered because it’s a safety hazard for Small One, but for now the three of us congregate there most mornings for breakfast. The day’s surprise is whether or not there is snow on the Jura, the mountain we can see out of our balcony doors as we face west. On a clear day, the snow is rosy from the pink sky of the sun rising in the east. It is beautiful.

My sister went to Afghanistan in 2010, and she told me that there are no trees in Kabul. The Taliban cut them down, she said. Why? I asked her. There was no reason. They wanted to remove any sign of beauty, any sign of life, from the landscape.

Beauty is powerful, and no I’m not talking about the way a human being’s physical beauty can hold another human being in an emotional vice grip. I’m talking about beauty in the broadest sense, the quality that cannot be fully described by human words but you know it when you encounter it, in nature, in another person, in yourself, in stillness, in the bustle, in the city, in the country. You know it because you want to be part of this beauty because it is changing you, making you whole, and it is healing the wounds that ugliness leaves on our insides. I think encountering beauty reminds us somewhere deep inside that there is something more than all of this.

This could be whatever problem facing us today and making our life difficult, this is the discipline required to do what we don’t want to do, this is an annoying person, this is the current state of politics, this is our bank account, this is life’s mess.

But there is something more for all of us than all of this. 

I make room for beauty by leaving my days open, so I have time to notice the sunlight shining through our red, Moroccan curtains.

I find beauty when I open the Bible and make room for its words to live inside of me.

Beauty comes to my soul when I walk with Small One in the park without a schedule, so we can look at the leaves and watch the way the wind blows the yellow, orange and red from the trees.

Ruby red pomegranate seeds. Books on a bookshelf. A simple smile. Smelling an orange peel. Freshly chopped herbs. A pot of tortilla soup. Laughing with Small One. Hide-and-go-chase. The sound of the elevator door opening when Husband comes home.

There is a much-needed soul restoration that takes place daily when I make room for beauty in my life as I remind myself that there is more than this

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