Beauty Will Save The World
"Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky -
Today is my middle son's fourteenth birthday.
A little over fifteen years ago, my wife and I shakingly made our way out of an OB/GYN office in downtown Chicago stunned with the news that the barely three-month-old baby inside her would live.
A week earlier they'd told us the baby's heart rate indicated the pregnancy was unsustainable. We were at the office that day because they fully expected to do a procedure following the miscarriage.
Instead, we discovered that not only was he alive, but his heart was strong and vibrant.
I can still remember the way the cold and mist hit my face on that gloomy, cold December morning. I could smell woodsmoke in the air from somewhere. I found myself full of wonder at how the city lights provided a vibrant contrast to the grey sky.
It was beautiful. All of it was beautiful.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato believed that there were three concepts that constituted all the longings within the human soul: Truth, Good, and Beauty. He called these concepts, the transcendentals.
The Apostle Paul picked up on this when he exhorted first century Christians to let those longings guide them as they sought to follow after Jesus:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.But there are times when what is true and good seems elusive. There are seasons when we struggle to know the "why" of all that is happening to us. I recall wondering those very things when we'd received the bad news of my baby son.
I also remember how hard it was to trust the news that he was alive and growing. My heart didn't know if it could take being let down, no matter how true and good the news.
But what I knew beyond all doubt at that moment was how beautiful the world seemed, and that was enough.
Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote:
"If the too obvious, too straight branches of Truth and Good are crushed or amputated and cannot reach the light--yet perhaps the unexpected branches of Beauty will make their way through and soar up to that very place and in this way perform the work of all three."If you are struggling today to trust the truth and goodness of what you are experiencing, look instead to the beauty around you. See it in the faces of the people you encounter... in an act of kindness or sacrifice... in the simple petals of a flower... in the way the sun falls upon your face...
And let it be enough.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.