My friend has a beautiful yard. She spends countless hours tending to her gardens, and as a result spends countless hours delighting in the beauty of the yard. (My dogs and I have been quite fortunate to spend time in this verdant oasis!) The spring and summer showcase a plethora of perennials, with more shades of green than I can imagine. Butterflies come to visit, birds alight on the feeder to sing and show off their colours. The autumn highlights transitions of oranges and reds, and the gradual collection of leaves on the ground foreshows not only the regeneration of the earth through nutrients, but the cozy protection that will be used by a variety of critters as the earth takes her wintery sabbath.
At any time of the year, a deep breath in the yard is a breath of fresh air. The eyes, ears, and nose enjoy the beauty that can be found in the variety of the garden.
While some prefer their yards to be bursting with colours, entirely edible, or devoid of any vegetation, there is beauty. The beauty is always there. The promise of life is always there.
The challenge: we need to open our eyes to see it.
If I was not able to see the 50 shades of green, I could not appreciate the intricate details in my friend's yard. But God has gifted me with the ability to see that there is beauty there: in all seasons, in all stages of life. The beauty is there, waiting to be seen and enjoyed. And it is the variety and variance that makes it beautiful.
It is up to me, then, to be intentional about seeing the beauty. And this is a skill that transcends the yard: it touches on every aspect of life. Everything that my eyes behold, (and all my other senses engage with) can be a thing of God-given beauty - when I want to see it. So I want to see the beauty: in a dinner party with friends and in sharing worship with those at church; in trying to dissuade the squirrels from placing nuts in my eavestrough and in my interactions with the neighbour's misbehaving dog. There is beauty there; it is waiting to be seen. And when I see it, I can celebrate that the source of this beauty is the Creator of all beauty.
The beauty is there: God has given us countless shades of beauty. I hope we can recognize the Divine beauty present in everything around us, and give thanks.
"Turn to the LORD! He can still be found. Call out to God! He is near." Isa 55.6 CEV