Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Beauty of This

My eyes trace the odd curves that jut out of the florida live oak
in 47 or so different directions.
I let my gaze linger on one angle
then another
and had a sudden longing
to leap out of the car
and wrap my hands around a branch,
pull myself into the tree,
let my feet dangle in the air,
stay there until the sky grew dark,
watching ants carry things many times their size
to and fro.
But presently the light changed.
Red to green.
And we drove on.

I watched a movie once.
Not my favorite.
But good!
And as we continued down the highway
a quote from it came back to me.
"I'll tell you a secret", Achilles had whispered,
"The gods are jealous of us.
they are jealous of our mortality....
the fact that any moment could be our last
makes us so beautiful."

Now, I don't believe God is jealous of us.
He is jealous for us,
desiring that we worship Him alone.
And this is one reason why He put such beauty
in our very mortality.
and in every plain
every broken
every joyful
every ordinary
every curious
every pain-ridden
every simple
and every mysterious
second of our existence.
All of which are made more beautiful
because they could easily be our last
Like how the crooked bends in the florida live oak
give it a beauty all it's own.
And just like how the stars could not shine through
without the darkness of night.
The the fact that we can hurt
means that we feel
and that we love
and that is beautiful.

And I thought, be still my heart.

In Mexico
there are little concrete houses
painted with whatever color was available.
I slide my roller into a peach color
reflecting sun into my eyes
rolled it over a dingy and flaking old coat
and over the drips
before they make it to the ground.
There's nothing quite like a fresh coat of paint.
Little brown faces pop up from behind a wall to my side
and peer over the edge
chins propped on tiny hands
with fingers sticky from snowcones with chili peppers.
They smile at me.
I beam back at them.
We communicate with our eyes
for lack of words.
Two new friends appear.
My age.
They take me from my peach-colored-paint fest
by the hands
...still no words.
My hands, though tan
pale next to theirs.
They shout to their friends as we pass
in a language I know very little of.
I am included
but there is so much I don't know.

I watched a movie once
Les Miserables.
Not my favorite.
But good!
And that night as I tried to sleep
a quote from it came back to me.
"Life's greatest happiness", Victor Hugo stated,
"is to be convinced that we are loved."

A new day.
A different side of town.
Shacks built with wooden street signs
or tin meant only for rooftops.
Dirt floors.
Hungry children.
One hands me a puppy.
Holding it up with both hands.
Ragged little dog.
"Esto es tu perrito?" I ask,
"Si, si!"
I'm told by a comrade
I should set the dog down.
Lest I get ringworm.
I hand the puppy back to the boy.
Then gather them both into my arms.
"Que bueno perrito!" I exclaim,
What a good puppy!
The little one breaks into a grin
and throws his arms around my neck.

And I thought, be still my heart.

Back at my school in the mountains
I watch the college kids
like I'm not one of them.
I watch them sharing their umbrellas when it rains,
fighting with their significant others in the parking lot,
hugging books to theirs chests,
while they walk down the sidewalk
that goes through the ornimental pear trees
that blossom with gorgeous pink and white flowers
but smell like fish food.

I watched a movie once
An Ideal Husband.
Not my favorite.
But good!
And now as I wave hello to a group of passing scene kids,
a quote from it comes back to me
"You have not truly seen something", Minnie Driver said,
"until you have seen the beauty in it"

If we can find the love
we can find the beauty
and then maybe we will finally be able
to see things
a little more like God sees them.
And maybe we will at last
be able to see
that life is beautiful.
So beautiful.

That's right heart, be still.

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