IVP - Strangely Dim - See the Beauty

April 21, 2008

See the Beauty

It's finally warming up here (for those of you south of, say, Virginia, "warming up" means "moving out of the forties," "warm enough to take a walk without snow boots on," "smoothie-worthy weather," etc.). Spring is not my favorite season, but it does inspire me. I think it's a powerful time of year. Green grass that's very ordinary in summer and fall is beautiful and vibrant and bright to me in spring. Pink and yellow and purple flowers seem especially pink and yellow and purple. Having the car windows down makes driving feel less like a headache-inducing, anger-filled chore and more like a treat. In this change from winter to spring I find myself noticing things--the newness and novelty and beauty of them.

I've been particularly moved by a plant (which, sadly, has not been named yet; feel free to post suggestions) my sister and I have in our apartment. Small pink flowers have bloomed on it, and each time I water it I'm struck by their brightness and beauty (which, granted, are not fully captured in the picture):


Maybe I get so excited about these small flowers because they give me a sense of pride and accomplishment: this plant is still alive and apparently thriving six months after we bought it. But I don't think that's the only reason. The simple bright beauty of the flowers stirs something in me: wonder, joy, gratitude.

So I'm wondering what stirs you, friends. And wondering if you know how important it is. I'm coming to see more and more how essential it is for me and, I'm convinced, for all of us. In a broken world where evil shows up all over, noticing the beauty around you, paying attention to what moves you, to the things that stir wonder in your soul, is crucial. Whatever it is--whether nature, art, poetry, music, kindness, a three-year-old boy with Down syndrome signing "love" to his mom for the first time--notice it. Celebrate it. Thank God. Thank him that he has created us to be moved by true beauty (as opposed to empty, false "beauty" that's been culturally crafted and defined), and that we can still see it and be moved by it, even after the Fall. These stirrings remind us and call us back to what is truly good and beautiful. And they give us a glimpse of God himself--his creativity, goodness and love of beauty--and his kingdom that is here on earth in part and will be revealed in its fullness when Christ returns.

Sara Groves's song "Why It Matters" says,

Sit with me and tell me once again . . .
Of the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters . . .

Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And it's protest of the darkness
And the chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters
Noticing the beauty in this Strangely Dim world does matter. It matters so much. So on this spring day, wherever you are, notice what causes your breath to catch, causes something deep inside you to come alive. Notice that beauty. Thank God. And add to it.
Posted by Lisa Rieck at April 21, 2008 9:48 AM Bookmark and Share


This post is a thing of beauty!! Thank you.

May I add to your beauty list?
- The florescent green of brand new leaves
- The fresh feel of two coats of paint that I applied myself
- The laughter of a young child
- And a really great day with a friend - doing just...anything.

(How about Clarabelle for your plants name?)

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Comment by: Floyd at August 18, 2009 6:52 AM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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