Last Wednesday evening I was on my way to a gathering of moms. We meet twice monthly to pray, share some silence and encourage one another. This particular evening was a lovely one. The weather was nice. I was driving J's car, so I had the sun roof open and the windows rolled down. Even though I knew it would make me a few minutes late, I couldn't bring myself to get on the interstate. Instead, I took the slower, but more enjoyable, ride. When I explained my late arrival to my friends, one of them said, "You are so aware of aesthetics - even on something like a car ride!" I had never thought of it that way, but she's right. I appreciate beauty, in all its various forms.
This weekend, we traveled to East Tennessee for some time away from home. It was good for my soul, not the least because of the beautiful surroundings. I marveled at the lush greens,
the budding pine cones,
the side-of-the-road wildflowers,
the soaring mountains,
the roaring rivers.
As we were sitting riverside having a picnic, B pondered aloud, "I wonder what Nashville would look like without roads, without people, without buildings. I wonder what it looked like before all of that."
That's worth thinking about, isn't it? What would this world look like without all of our roads, buildings, businesses, power lines and on and on? Because I can tell you that I think left unchecked, nature tends towards beauty.
God's world, His creation - all of that rushes headlong towards loveliness. The stuff of man? Not so much. In sharp contrast to the natural world, our efforts to make our lives easier with paved roads, running water and constantly available electricity and technology often serve to rob our lives of beauty instead of adding it.
I'm not a Luddite. In fact, today I read an article about the low ownership of dishwashers amongst the English and thought, "Well, that's one strike against living in England." I am fond of creature comforts, but surrounded by evidence that mankind knows little self-restraint. We keep building and buying when we should stop, look and breathe deeply.
I'm not saying we should all move to shacks in the woods. I am saying we should make more of an effort to find and embrace beauty in our everyday lives. Because our souls long for it, whether we hear them or not.