I had an opportunity this past week to witness one of the most amazing natural wonders I have ever seen. In essence, it was a swarm of piliated woodpeckers feasting around me in a beautiful sanctuary of woods. The following morning, I arose in hopes of catching the same flock of the dinosaur-like figures rattling out their cacophony of squawks and taps in the woods. To my dismay, there were only but a few.
As I ponder over what brought these marvelous birds together that morning, I realize just how blessed I was to be witness to this miracle. I begin to wonder how often we as people become caught up in the why or the reason behind things and miss the simple beauty and miracles that surround things. We in ourselves are a curious group. We like to understand things. But, at what expense. How often do we miss the awe in search of the analytical? That is not to say there is no beauty in the science but to rather ask, do we always need to search for the meaning.
I am reminded of the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The pivotal scene where they finally find the tomb with the holy grail and they must choose which cup is the cup of the covenant. They make the cup out to be simple and plain. As if the cup of a carpenter cannot be beautiful. Why I would argue that some of the most beautiful art we have is from the meek rather than the rich simply because they sink their heart and soul into what they have.
I recently had an opportunity to visit the Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As a true tourist, I must admit I did not have the opportunity to come to understand much about their culture, religion, or the people. However, what I did learn is that they, in their somewhat simpler approach to things, have a way of finding beauty in the most amazing places and ways.
I dwell on this beauty issue a bit because I have three daughters that are all just starting to explore topics such as pierced ears, makeup, clothing, and other items of fashion. As a parent, I struggle as I see them as such gifts and beautiful in their own right. I cringe at the idea of the gobbing their faces up with paint that they do not need. Or, flaunting their body’s in scant clothing that displays things that are suggestive to the wrong person. I understand the interest in adornments. At the same time, I understand the beauty in the work of God and the gifts that we already have.
There is beauty in all of us. Most of all there is beauty in loving ourselves. We must learn to appreciate the simple things in the world around us. We must learn to appreciate the beauty inside of us. If we always seek out the why or the justification, then we may miss the bigger picture or the beauty that is happening around us. Sometimes the biggest gift is to simply sit and appreciate the world we are in and the gifts we have been given.