“Beauty is not a luxury.” — John O’Donohue, Beauty
I spoke with a beautiful faith leader this week who was in a very dark place in her soul. She was overworked, overwhelmed, and suffering in a slow death spiral because of several toxic elements in her life. She’s like this stunning huge diamond, brilliant and full of light, that had inadvertently stumbled into a pretty stinky mud puddle.
I asked her what she wanted for her life. She said she couldn’t dream anymore. She had gotten so covered in the mud of her surroundings, she’d started to think she was the mud. She’d totally forgotten that she is a diamond—a treasure of immeasurable value, and full of beauty everywhere you look. Just one second of remembering the beauty God made in her, and all that mud would vaporize in a flash.
I think Dostoevsky was right. It’s beauty that will save us in the end.
Here’s how it works, or at least how it’s worked for me: Begin to pay attention to the beauty in your life. Notice the way leaves move in the wind. Don’t just nod at the sunset. Really see it. Notice the beauty in the voice of someone you love. Be on watch for everything beautiful that crosses your path every day—a song, a bird flying overhead, your own eyes in the mirror.
Become a beauty hunter. Soon enough you’ll see it everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Not long after, it will break your heart wide open. It will break wide open like the husk on a grain of wheat, and you’ll be utterly undone.
There’ll be no going back after that.
Maybe that’s what we’re all here to do. Train our eyes to see the beauty, then let it break our hearts. Maybe what we need most now are people who’ve been broken by beauty, who know what it is we’re all fighting for, and are willing to lay down their lives to see it preserved and unveiled.
Maybe that’s the way the whole world gets healed.