Beauty is an amazing gift from an amazing God. If it serves no other purpose than to bring us joy…a smile…an “ah” feeling inside…then it’s worth it.
When my dad started to experience memory-loss episodes a few years ago, my mom considered moving to an assisted living facility.
When we were talking about it together, she said, “You know what I’d miss most about this place (their current apartment)? The red walls!”
We laughed about that. But there’s this pang inside that says—yeah, it’s not a joke. She’d really miss those two walls that she had specially painted when they moved in.
To be honest, it’s taken me a long time to get to the place in my own mind where beauty is wonderful for its own sake. I’m so practical by nature that I’ve always tended to look for the functional justification for it.
But the more I think about it, admire it and appreciate it the less I feel I need to justify our love for it…and our need of it.
Whether it’s a gorgeous blue-sky-with-fresh-snow day (like we have today) or a red wall in the living room—beauty feeds the soul and the spirit.
Beauty is Therapy
One week was pretty intense for me. Some relational conflict and work stuff had piled on top of each other enough to cause more stress than usual.
When a scheduled work call had to be canceled by the other party at the last minute, I jumped at the chance to get outside for a walk earlier than I had planned on.
It was cold—only about 5º F. But four new inches of fresh powdery snow, deep blue sky and sunshine called my name, and out I went.
It was the best therapy I could’ve chosen!
That hour in fresh air surrounded by so much visual beauty did wonders. I came back in more relaxed and ready to get back to work.
It also gave me some free mental space to thank the Lord for all this beauty, and pray about some of these areas I had been involved in.
Beauty is a Feast for Our Senses
Beauty isn’t just about what we see with our eyes, but about all our senses.
On that same walk I suddenly heard the song of a cardinal. There he was, sitting at the tip-top of a snow-laden spruce tree, bright red against the blue sky. Beauty for my eyes and my ears.
Some beauty can be smelled…like the scent of the air after a rainfall, or a rose bush or lilacs.
Can we feel beauty? How about a refreshing swim in a cool lake on a hot day? The warmth of the sun on our face?
Creating Beauty is Therapy, Too
Because we’re made in the image of the Creator of the universe, we also can create. Creating beauty through music, writing, painting, dancing, photography, design or crafting is incredibly invigorating and fulfilling.
After my dad moved to a memory care facility in 2016 (my mom stayed in their apartment—and she still has her red walls!), my mom took up painting again. Something she hadn’t done since the 70s—now she was in her 70s.
It was so good for her to have that means to create beauty during those last two years of my Dad’s life. It helped keep her focus on more than just his decline.
Since his death, she’s continued to paint off and on. The rest of us benefit, too, since we have new artwork for our homes, like this one:
Beauty is Personal
Beauty isn’t the same for all of us. For example, lots of my Minnesota friends don’t like winter at all. There’s no beauty in it for them. That’s fine.
Know what kind of beauty moves you, though, and feed your soul with it. Natural beauty. Beauty in your home and surroundings. Created beauty by other people and by yourself.
You’ll be healthier emotionally, spiritually and mentally…which in turn will help boost your physical health, too.