That beauty thing
My friend Thinus is lending me a Don Miller book called “Through Painted Deserts” and I decided to head off to the park near my house to sit in the sun and read. The park is quite odd, because on the edge of it there are these two pillars welcoming you into the park. They stand there for no apparent reason as the rest of it is just a park and really you can enter it anywhere you want. It is actually the old entrance to Lanzerac (a wine farm in the area), but they obviously sold some of their property for it to be turned into the suburban area in which I now live. The randomness of this ‘entrance’ got me thinking...
I was sitting enjoying the sun, the book, and the few odd passers-by when I realized that I was bored. I must confess I get bored very easily, in fact I think I was only there for about 20 minutes. It might have something to do with the fact that I read incredibly slowly or that I have a fast metabolism, but to curb my boredom I decided to walk and read at the same time.
My walk took me into the Jonkershoek wine farm area, which even though I live right on the edge of it I hardly ever go to. Whenever I tell people where I live I always stupidly add how great it is to live on the edge of town and the edge of wine farms, but the truth is that I almost never go up there.
Walking and reading is quite an art to be honest, because you need to be aware of small streams, other pedestrians, cars, and walls. My slow reading was therefore an asset as the distraction of making sure I didn’t die hardly reduced my reading speed which can’t really be reduced, because if it were I wouldn’t be reading at all.
I went to stand on the edge of a field where two horses stood eating grass, and decided to stand there arbly reading my book and occasionally gazing at the horses who seemed so relaxed and untroubled by the world around them; only pausing to let out a huff every few minutes. The area in which I live is in between two mountains and standing there with the horses and the sun and my book was nothing short of scripted.
The book I am reading is about how Don Miller and a friend go off on a road-trip, going to experience life without cares. Reading about this and standing there with the ‘cool-as-cucumber-horses’ I felt like the only person in the world remotely concerned with tomorrow. I finish university this year and need to make decisions and this has obviously been weighing heavily on my mind, but in that moment I just felt like not caring anymore, I felt like going off into the inimitable future with nothing but the clothes on my back and something poetic.
Then a father and his two sons came zooming past me on what looked like a Vespa. I couldn’t help but see the beauty in the situation which I normally would have just overlooked. How the father loved his boys who were clinging to him tightly as he drove through the winding valley just warmed my heart. It reminded me of when I was young and carefree, when knowing my dad was in control gave me enough satisfaction. And worries were something that grown-ups had.
Now, at this stage in my life, everything needs to have a point. Even writing this note seemed pointless. How was I going to tie it up with some over-arching metaphor; something that was going to make your life 2 to 3 times better after reading this note?
Then I remembered something God had revealed to me a few weeks ago on a walk down to the shops. The mountains looked really breath-taking as the sun set, and I remember remarking to left-side of my brain how beautiful they looked. I was wearing my sunglasses and noticed that I didn’t need them anymore as the sun was setting and so I took them off. Once they were off the mountains didn’t look such a sharp beautiful colour that it had before. I walked on for a while before putting my glasses back on, for no other reason than to enjoy the beauty again.
I have come to the conclusion that some things such as beauty require no explanation, no meaning. They exist because they do, and the beautiful moments, and mountain views, and people you meet are there to be enjoyed not to be rationalized and processed. I think that is why God created the universe, not for any reason but for beauty’s sake. My view of God is that He is a being who is incredibly beautiful, and by that I don’t mean pretty, I mean the essence of perfection and wonder. He encapsulates everything that is good and wonderful, and so when we look at someone or something that is beautiful I believe we see a bit of God’s glory, and when we see that beauty our only response needs to be awe and admiration.
Posted by Michael-John Phillip