We all need beauty in our lives. Sometimes, when we feel the darkness closing in, the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and things look bleak – what we need is the courage to immerse ourselves in beauty. To be reminded that there is more to this life than what our eyes (and hearts) are currently viewing.
I don’t know about you, but my family has been in a busy, and ever-changing season lately. We moved to Florida a year ago – so new house, new school, new neighborhood, new church. We’ve been struggling to “settle in” which means making new friends, finding new fun things to do. At the same time, my freelance business went from one client to five. So…new workload, new clients, new figuring out how to balance freelance work, housework, and being a mom. In the most recent months, my husband has enrolled in a doctoral program, and our church got a new pastor. Throw in all the usual stuff with kids and activities, and it’s just a lot of new, and a lot of busy.
And for me, I don’t like a lot of change. A little change is good, keeps me on my toes. But change in everything? That can get ugly. And don’t even get me started on the ugly I see when I scroll through my Facebook feed or turn on the news. Sometimes it feels like our world has lost its mind. And so I found myself last weekend just wanting to bury my head under the covers and sleep away the change. Then I remembered that I do live in Florida, and it’s not energy efficient to turn the air conditioner to a level that would sustain being buried under the covers. Clearly, I needed another option.
As a treat for our kids, we will occasionally watch a movie on Saturday evenings. We’ve been watching the Marvel superhero movies, and it’s been fun to introduce my girls to those characters. While those movies are fun to watch and the good guys generally win, I just wasn’t up for the darkness in them. I suggested we watch Disney’s live action Cinderella, because i sensed an innate need to fill my view with something beautiful.
When the movie first came out in 2015, my oldest daughter was turning eight and wanted to see the movie with some friends instead of having a party. Even my husband came along; and we were captivated. Apparently, you never are too old for a good princess story. Director Kevin Branagh has created a film that is resplendent with color in ways that I rarely see in movies. Even in the sadness of the death of Ella’s parents, there is a quiet beauty in the way the scenes are set.
While originally wanted to watch the movie this past weekend precisely for the visual beauty, as we were viewing it, I realized that there is a deeper beauty underlying the costumes and sets. Ella’s mother tells her to always “have courage, and be kind” and Ella reminds herself of that often. As she progress from the lovely (and loved) Ella into the care-worn and mistreated Cinderella, she continues to have courage and be kind. She is kind to animals, to the prince, but most importantly, to her stepmother and stepsisters who are nothing but evil to her. That kindness requires a great deal of courage. At the end of the movie, when she is finally going away with her prince, she looks at her stepmother and says “I forgive you.” Lady Tremaine sinks on the stairs; she is undone by such kindness, all of it wholly undeserved.
There is it, the real beauty in the story – forgiveness. It takes both kindness and courage to forgive those who are so ugly to us. That is a courage that I do not have in myself. I need Another to first forgive me, and then to cast His love abroad in my heart. He then can turn my ugliness into beauty, my weakness into courage, and my hatred into kindness and forgiveness. That is the beauty my soul needs in the midst of the crushing weight of this present age. I need the beauty of a God who created me and loves me and sent His Son to die that I might experience all the joy and beauty that He is.
So delight your eyes in beauty. Laura creates beauty and we share it with you here on the blog. Buy a piece, take it home. Watch beautiful movies. Go to art museums. Enjoy the beauty of creation. But most importantly, find the real beauty that is found only in following Christ. If that sounds crazy to you, send me an email, I’d love to talk more!