Monthly Archives: September 2017

Beauty

I’ve never considered myself beautiful. Not once. I don’t feel sad about it. It’s just not an adjective I would ever use to describe myself. Really,  it’s okay. I kill cute. It’s my lane, and I like driving in it.

Having said that, I love when I catch beauty peeking out from behind the curtains of our lives. She isn’t altogether shy; she just bides her time . . . waiting for those moments we are most unaware of all the things we have done to try to be beautiful. It’s really kind of silly. All the dressing up and the painting up. All the add-ons and enhancements. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently evil in a perfectly styled hairdo, a flawless complexion or that one in a million fashion find. No, not at all. However, beauty doesn’t live there.  Gratefully, she isn’t applied. She’s on her best behavior when discovered.

I see her in the brilliance of the orbed sun at dusk; lighting the heavens on fire, she hangs heavy in the evening sky. She screams in the explosion of uncontrollable laughter; the kind that tilts our heads, breaking our necks into unconscious angles. Suspended in time, we succumb to the forces of amusement, and merriment becomes our master. And when laugh lines expose those deep rivers of pure joy, we greet her. Yes, beauty lives right there. She bows her knee to two heads joined in unrelenting waves of grief. She is aware that sharing the pain dulls sharp edges. The ashes cool faster that way. She knows this so well because beauty is forged in that fire. Eternally. She also erupts from outrageous compassion. When one hand touches another in need, beauty gratefully and perpetually hits her mark.

No, beauty isn’t made. She isn’t even born. And most certainly, artists don’t create beauty. They are simply here to record it. No, she exists beyond time and space, altogether separate from the human experience. And even though she communes with us, her form and substance were inspired by the Creator. How else can we explain culture’s pursuit of her, as if she could ever be captured. Beauty is a force burning us from the inside out, cauterizing our weaknesses. Reminding us of what was once lost and is now found, forevermore.

Licking My Wounds

This week kicked my butt.  It was short and should have felt like a Sunday afternoon walk.  Instead, it felt like a beleaguered hike in the scorching desert . . . without a canteen.

It was a sick-fest.  A work piling up, late nights, 5th grade homework, dishes in the sink, laundry piles unattended, chores neglected kind of butt kicking.  And I am still not completely recovered.

I don’t know why some seasons of life feel different from others.  Or why at certain times our inadequacies take center stage with a spotlight and a microphone.  But they do.  Our circumstances overshadow us.  And they sing their own high-pitched squeaky melodies, the kind of song that puts our nerves on edge and sends the audience toward the exits.    Nobody wants to see the epic meltdowns these moments can produce.  Nothing but all kinds of scorched earth.

As I was licking my wounds this morning and prepping for my big return to the stage next week sans illness and insecurities, I came across a video on social media of the ocean bed surrounding Long Island, Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  I say ocean bed because the water is . . . well, it’s gone.  Shoreline?  Check.  Sandy dunes?  Check.  Long pier into the middle of nothingness?  Check.  Wait, what?  Yes, the ocean waters have been completely sucked away leaving the ocean floor utterly exposed:

I’ve never seen anything like it, except maybe that moment in the children’s book entitled  The Five Chinese Brothers, when the first brother swallows the sea.  It’s stunning.  And it’s extremely rare, but entirely possible.  In some cases, it’s a sign of a tsunami, but in this case, it’s something altogether different.  Hurricane Irma is so powerful, it is upending the ocean . . . literally consuming the water.  Moses and the Red Sea kind of showmanship.

I sat back in my chair and took a breath.  Nature and its intensity splintering my computer screen.  This storm is making its devastating impact known but only for the moment.  The cost may be great, but eventually Irma’s powerful winds will be spent and the water will return again to those deserted shorelines.  These natural boundaries, however, were set long ago by a bigger force than the storms in our lives.  All of the waters of the earth know His voice, and cannot resist His celestial control.  Not even a beast like Irma can rend them entirely from His hands.

So, I will grow still and wait . . . wait for those roiling waters to strike calm.  And they will.  For all storms eventually obey His irresistible dominion.