“It’s one thing to search out the beauty in the world, it’s a far more important thing to create the beauty that surrounds you.” Wyatt Oroke, 2018 graduation keynote speaker to Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts.
Looking for and finding beauty reminds us of God’s goodness and the goodness of life. It fills our soul and quiets our anxious heart. We, who were made in the image of the creator were also made to create beauty. To create beauty is an act of community. It is an act of giving as well as receiving. Creating beauty isn’t limited to the arts. Those of us who have been given beauty in family or in relationships or in neighborhoods or in opportunities – we have the power to create beauty for those who haven’t had the same privileges.
Creating beauty is every choice to love. It is every generous gift of time, kind word, expression of compassion, decision to share your own privilege, invitation for a walk or a meal, phone call to check on someone’s welfare, note of encouragement, effort to bring about justice, humble move to elevate others. I had surgery two weeks ago and have been given numerous gifts of beauty since: attentive doctors and nurses, meals delivered by friends, phone calls, cards, flowers, and prayers.
My brother-in-law forwarded an email to me with the subject line: Good Things Happen. Each “good thing” accompanied a photo: Lying in a hospital bed, 15 year-old Anthony Borges who used his body to hold a classroom door shut during the Florida shooting, protecting 20 other students as the gunman fired through the door, hitting him five times. A Kenyan man who drives his water truck hours every day to provide water to thirsty wild animals in a drought. An older man in a subway station stopping to help a younger stranger with his tie. Firefighters in Arizona with their crane extended over a boarder wall to put out a building fire in Mexico. Brian, a retired Dublin gentleman who spends every evening making 50 tubs of curry for the homeless, funded by his own pension. Beauty is often sacrificial.
An artist creates beauty giving us her vision of a landscape or human form or still life. We all create beauty whenever our actions demonstrate that each person is worthy of experiencing God’s goodness.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
A Micah 6:8 life is a beautiful life.