Why is beauty important? I think we are so wrapped up in the basic pursuit of survival that we often over look the benefit of beauty and yet as humans we subconsciously insist on it. I have seen people in extreme poverty wrap a ribbon around an old worn curtain, or save a cookie tin because it was pretty. I believe that beauty is innate in all of us. I believe that we arrange our furniture in a way that pleases our sense of beauty. I believe we paint a wall because we desire beauty in our lives. We listen to music because we want to immerse ourselves in beauty. We plant gardens, water lawns, pick up pretty rocks, and take wilderness hikes because of this innate desire. Some people hone these skills until they reach a level where they consider themselves artists and share their pursuit with others, while some simply pursue beauty for their own pleasure. We all pursue beauty, we all engage with beauty. It seems such an idol pursuit, so what does beauty gives us that other things do not?
The first thing beauty gives us is balance. I am constantly struggling to find the positive in any situation. Nothing ministers to my spirit more after a stressful week than a walk in the mountains. The fresh air and the vast vistas are healing ointment to my spirit. I also find strength in music. Even when the stress of the day bears heavy on me, music strengthens and lifts my spirit. I know why the most oppressed people are often innovators in the arts. The oppressed are looking for balance, beauty balances the oppression, and it balances the darkness. In this area we have million plus dollar homes that go on displayed once a year. The event is called “The Parade of Homes”. My husband and I used to go see these magnificent homes. Every corner is polished and showcased, with magnificent interior design. There is beauty at every turn but after you leave there is no one thing that sticks in your mind. Nothing stands out. With their grand entry, spiral staircase, majestic fireplace, etc. these homes have nothing that balances out the beauty. Everything fits and is perfect. Why than do I notice the ribbon on a worn curtain or a colorful cookie tin that is displayed on an old shelf. I noticed them because they were direct contrasts to their old tired surroundings. Much like a small light in a dark room, a beacon of beauty; beauty stands out when it is surrounded by the tired, the weary, and the sad. Light is simply not as powerful in the presence of light but it cuts and illuminates the darkness. I think beauty is similar; it exists in its most powerful state in the midst of ugliness. It brings balance to our lives.
I have also notices that often beauty is a silent voice that speaks things that cannot be said out loud. It can speak against violence, or rage against war. It can bring peace in the midst of oppression, and love to the homeless. It holds the broken spirit and finds the lost. It is grace. It is not soft, don’t get me wrong. It can be the only opposition to society that is allowed. It can be strong and forceful or like oil on an old wooden board it can gently seep into cracks, moisturizing years of neglect and bring out brilliance, and luster. It can minister to those who mourn and are lost to emotions that are inexpressible by words alone. It can inspire and bring courage to the faint of heart, strengthening resolve and heal broken hearts. It cares not of which religion you adhere to or if you attend to your daily prayers. It cares not that you messed up at work yesterday or you yelled at your kids today. It judges not, it only wraps its invisible arms around your tired, worn heart and kisses you with the soft feathery brush of mercy and grace.