Beauty matters. A few weeks ago, I was surprised to find myself at the arena downtown a couple of nights in a row. I saw two different recording artists who had come through town on their multi-city tours. There couldn’t have been two more different shows to see than these. The first night’s show would have been nearly impossible for those with high sensitivity to the party scene to make it through. Most of this artist’s songs were about happenings at an out-of-control college bash – happenings not worth repeating. The second night’s show would have been nearly impossible for many who have lost belief in innocence to stomach. All of her songs were about first kisses, hand holding, and other experiences that mark the slow awakening of a young girl to romantic love. This polarized combination of concerts was like putting in The Little Mermaid DVD after first watching The Hangover.
I walked away from that sleep-deprived weekend with a very clear example of why beauty matters. The first recording artist seemed to have decided that beauty is not something we should allow to flourish within the protective bounds of dignity. Rather, she smothered beauty with a posture of indifference toward maintaining a whole, sacred self. Her music exposed the great tragedy of a woman who believes that holding no boundaries is the only way to prevent further heartache. If no boundaries are in place, none can ever be crossed, and she can maintain an illusion of control. My heart was broken at the thought of this. For those who have responded to life in this way, good reasons often exist to shut off the hope for a sense of wholeness, dignified beauty, and heroic love. Many of those who promote indifference in the deepest matters of the heart have been wounded greatly. I wished I could somehow convince her that she is beautiful in the place of greatest unbelief in such a disappointed idea.
The second recording artist seemed to have maintained a sense of innocence and wonder with regards to love and beauty. While often bordering on fantasy in her exaltation of romantic relationship, she nonetheless carried a belief in the existence of love that can protect beauty and allow it to flourish in herself and between lovers. Instead of denying that true beauty exists, she celebrated how important and vital it is to maintain.
Truth about beauty
Through my own struggle to find for my heart a home in beauty, I have known the extremes of indifference and fantasy. Upon heartache I have wanted to shut off the hope for feeling beautiful again. Other times I have believed that I would only feel beautiful if I had proof through the perfect experience of romance. Our world is jam-packed with marketing that feasts on the illusion that beauty is an experience, style, or technique. However, the truth is that beauty only blossoms atop those plants that are grounded in dignity, and the only one who can plant and nurture this dignity, this identity, is God.
Will you ask God to expose the places where you have become indifferent to beauty or believe that beauty is a hopeless fantasy? True beauty not only exists, but its life giving nature is essential for the health of your innermost places. In fact, the more you allow God to tend to the places in your heart where you reject your own belovedness, your own beauty, the more you will be free to let love flourish in your life as a whole. The songs that your heart will sing will be joyful songs of an identity fully grounded in the love of God.
Yes, beauty matters.
Flickr photo (cc) by martinak15