If only there was only some way to capture the tone of voice when a four-year-old blurted out, “It’s so beautiful!” The shock, excitement and reverence this little guy shared as he stopped to take in a huge, bright yellow dandelion was truly contagious. One would think we were in the presence of a rare orchid. There is so much ugly in the world today – not just the visual things of trash, pollution, and hateful printed words but in the images of people across our community, country and the world who are hungry, hurting, and broken. I am sure that is why I cling to working with this class of preschoolers as they help me see the beauty in the world through their fresh and eager eyes.
During the years when I helped lead a family service-learning trip to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota I gathered many resources of Native American writings and teachings to help ground us. One of my favorite passages comes from Listening With Your Heart, a collection by Dr. Wayne Peate. He shares:
“To walk in beauty is to live a life of inner tranquility and fulfillment. The Beauty Way enables you to tap into the good that is all around you, to peel back your layers of lost hopes, fears and drudgery and live your dreams again.”
I feel these words mirror so much of what God, our Creator, desires for us in our daily lives. This amazing world has so much to offer us if we only are able to cast our eyes on the small, yet awesome specks of beauty in the natural world we move through daily. Beauty is also so real in the smiles and the laughter of young children who invite us to stand in awe of the world anew.
This time in our world is complicated, scary and uncertain and with headlines bombarding us moment by moment it is so easy to get lost in the ugliness. But if there is to be any hope of changing the world day by day for the better we must take time to observe and honor the natural beauty in our world, to find the goodness in each other. I recently listened to an interview with Sue Monk Kidd and she shared a phrase (which I am sure others have said too)… “We become, what we pay attention to….” How powerful is her call for us to become the beauty of the Holy One in the midst of this chaotic world.