Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beauty... and Gratitude

Goodness, truth, and beauty... three facets of philosophy, three of God's myriad of attributes. Intimately linked, yet distinct: goodness is true and beautiful; truth is good and beautiful; beauty is true and good.

Beauty is not solely in the eye of the beholder, as the idiom would have you believe. In that which is beautiful to the eye, there are objective realities and guidelines that would have it defined as beautiful. Symmetry is beautiful, for example. It may be trendy to favor the asymmetrical, but symmetry has an undeniable and classic beauty.

Beauty, however, is not limited to that which is visible in the created physical world. There is beautiful music, fascinating in its elusive harmony. There are enchanting sentiments, capturing our attention with their nobility and idealism. There is beauty in self-discipline and self-sacrifice.

...Yours truly has a certain inclination toward cynicism and sarcasm, both by nature and by nurture. In my early teenage years, almost nothing gave me greater satisfaction than that derived from a "clever" sarcastic remark. I have been blessed or cursed (depending on how you look at it) with a quick wit and a tongue that has difficulty repressing some of the "perfect!" comebacks. I soon discovered, though, that while some sarcasm, under the right circumstances, was humorous indeed, an overindulgence in such a "pastime" quickly led to a too-bitter outlook on life. The same thing was true of cynicism. At first, it is great fun to see things through a cynic's eyes, but after awhile, it begins to detract from the vibrant beauty of life. Pointing out life's little ironies is one thing, but to become utterly unable to see anything for which to be grateful is quite another. I think that one element of child-likeness is to be able to keep one's eye on the silver lining and to be grateful for all the little things. We mustn't take the beautiful things in life for granted. There are so many beautiful things to see, if we will just open our eyes... And oftentimes, they are the littlest things.

The other day, I was thinking about how much I have for which to be grateful. The Faith, for one thing. That's huge. My family. Also a very big thing! And silly though it may sound, it also occurred to me to be grateful for the nice big deck that we have and enjoy so much... for a relatively spacious yard, for a house/roof over our heads, for our health, for the community in which we live (there's no place on earth I'd rather be in times like these!)... for the grace to see these things and the opportunity to be grateful for them!

Life is beautiful. And it's worth living. Sometimes we need an attitude adjustment; but there will always be something beautiful to see and to be grateful for, as long as we try to know and do God's Will!

God IS goodness, truth, and beauty. Wherever we see these, we see also a dim reflection of Him.

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