Of Beauty



This morning’s early walk took me to the rose garden in our largest city park. If it strikes you that Tucson might be a challenging place to raise roses, you’re right! This garden is well fenced, partly to protect it from javelina (peccaries), who like thorny, moist plants. Nothing, however, can protect the gorgeous blossoms when the sun gets too hot for them. Today I saw many, especially white ones, that were burned to crispy.

Even so, the fresh roses showed their colors beautifully. Roses, like many things, inspire me to ponder the miracle that we can perceive beauty at all—and how much we need it.

Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the royal wedding this past weekend. Yes, I’m one of the many who got up early to watch it.  I don’t care about titles and celebrity life. But I do like pageantry, be it medieval or modern. Why? I had to think about that. Why? Because I find in it beauty—beautiful flowers, beautiful fabrics, beautiful designs, beautiful people doing beautiful things, like a huge dance. The creation of beauty for beautiful reasons is, itself, a beautiful act.

Often when I look at the styles (or lack thereof) worn by some folks these days, I wonder: what ever happened to pretty? Or handsome? I find that in our society we are drawn to much that is eye-catching, much that is sexy, much that is rich-looking, much that is speedy. Does our society offer us enough beauty? Do we forget how much beauty contributes to the richness of our inner life? Bro. David Steindl-Rast says, “beauty seen makes the one who sees it more beautiful.” Isn’t it true? Doesn’t seeing something beautiful make us, somehow, more?

Rumi writes, “Let the beauty you love be what you do.” How many of us make an effort to do ordinary things in beautiful ways? Do we set a lovely table for a meal or do we eat in front of the TV? Do we tend our homes with the creating of beauty in our hearts? Do we make our myriad choices with beauty in our intentions?

I’m with Rumi. I want the soul to be as rich in beauty as possible, for beauty is Divine. I want to experience beauty in my own actions. How about you?


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