What is beauty? How do little children know what beauty is and why do they respond to it? Why do we create it and spend time and money looking for beauty and surrounding ourselves with it?
My little three-year old granddaughter sat on my lap as we checked out ballet dancing clips on YouTube. She has moved to music since she gained control of her tiny arms and legs. As soon as one video started she exclaimed, “Dass so boodeefo! So boodeefo!” She recognized the music. “Oh! Dass Cara and the Nutcacker! Dass so boodeefo! Again! Again!” She only got down off my lap so she could dance to the music herself. She is so boodeefo.
I took a shortcut around the back of the hotel while I was out for a walk on our recent trip to California. Near the garbage/trash/rubbish bins I saw a magnolia tree in bloom. They don’t grow here in the Canadian Rockies and I was amazed to see such beauty hiding in such an undignified location. Like my little granddaughter’s dancing it’s blooming was not an effort to seduce me into giving it something, or serving it. It just was, and I could see the generosity of my Creator’s hand -as well as the hand of whoever planted it there.
A friend of mine, a classical pianist with a beautiful heart, left his comfortable home and career and went to Cambodia to help people recover from the horrors they had experienced during the Pol Pot regime. He asked what they needed most and was surprised when they answered, “Music!” Once their immediate needs for food and shelter had been taken care of the thing they desired most was the beauty of music. He was just the man for the job.
One of the qualities of Christ is his beauty. For most of us it’s not seen with physical eyes, not usually, unless you count his reflection in the beauty of nature. Those who have come to know him in experience rather than theory are enthralled by his beauty, the beauty they see with their spiritual eyes. The Psalmist wrote: I am pleading with the Eternal for this one thing, my soul’s desire: To live with Him all of my days— in the shadow of His temple, to behold His beauty and ponder His ways in the company of His people. (Psalm27:4 The Voice)
Somehow we recognize beauty and respond to it. Beauty is who we are meant to be and who we are meant to be with. There is within us a discontent with the ugliness of garbage. Our hearts long to be restored back to the garden. Beauty gives us hope.