Sunday, October 16, 2011

Unseen Beauty ~ Seen

"The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy."
Isaiah 35:1-2

I've recently been reading the autobiography of Helen Keller.  She was a remarkable woman.  She is truly a testament to what can be achieved in life, no matter what you have to overcome.

But I was especially impressed with how much she loved the natural beauty of the earth, which, of course, she could not see.  Here's what she said:  "It seems strange to many people that I should be impressed by the wonders and beauties of Niagara.  They are always asking:  'what does this beauty or that music mean to you?  You cannot see the waves rolling up on the beach, or hear their roar.  What do they mean to you?'"  And her answer was, "In the most evident sense, they mean everything.  I cannot fathom or define their meaning anymore than I can fathom or define love or religion or goodness."

I just love her analogy of comparing visible beautiful things to invisible beautiful things.  They were all invisible to her, but of course she still knew they were there.  There are beautiful things that are invisible to all of us, as she said, like love, faith, kindness.  So how did she appreciate things she could not see or hear?  

The explanation came later in her book, when she said, "Sometimes, it is true, a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist... beyond, there is light, and music, and sweet companionship; but I may not enter.  Silence sits immense upon my soul.  Then comes hope with a smile and whispers, 'There is joy in self-forgetfulness.'  So I try to make the light in others' eyes my sun; the music in others' ears my symphony; the smile on others' lips my happiness."

Helen Keller found joy in simply knowing beauty existed, even though she couldn't see it.  There's a lesson there for us.

These quotes put me in mind of another literary heroine of mine ~ Anne Frank.  Want another take on the beauty of life?  This is what she had to say:  "In the evening, when I lie in bed, I end my prayers with  the words, 'I thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful.'  I am filled with joy.  I think about 'the good' of going into hiding, of my health... the 'dearness' of those I love, and the beauty which exists in all the world.... nature, beauty and all that is exquisite and fine.  I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."  Amazing, isn't it?  But she continues, "My advice when one feels melancholy is:  go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God.  Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!  I've found that there is always some beauty left ~ in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself."  

Isn't that remarkable?  And does it strike you that you are being advised to find beauty in nature, from a girl who could not go outside??  She had known these things ~ fields and nature and sunshine ~ but they had been taken away from her.  She spent her last years in prison ~ first an attic, and then a concentration camp.  But Anne Frank found joy in simply knowing beauty existed, even though she couldn't see it.  There's a lesson there for us.

See more than what you can see.

~ "The Spirit lifted me up 
between earth and heaven" ~
Ezekiel 8:3

No comments:

Post a Comment