Thursday, May 9, 2013

Beauty Is A Blessing

It is natural that I should want things I need, food, shelter and clothing.  I could not survive without them.  It is also natural that I should worry:  Do I have enough for the future?  And, unfortunately, it is natural that my weak brain which cannot foresee the future should make plans for the worst, and then “what I need” turns into “what I want.”  And I often want too much, forgetting that I was created not just to exist --- much less to exist in extravagance and self-satisfaction, but that I was created to love, to give of myself, even from things provided for my needs.
This earth was given to man as a gift, to care for and ensure it provides for his needs, and those of his neighbor.  It provides for my natural needs, but it provides something even more, it provides for my spiritual needs.  It provides beauty.
If a man were to live out his life in a concrete room with his basic needs given him, he would not be living the way he was created to live.  The earth in all its created beauty is something that man needs, and something which we should care for and use prudently, but like growing food for our needs, we should also contribute to the beauty in this world --- for our needs.
It’s Spring in Michigan --- finally.  The first warm night last week, I stopped at the adoration chapel on my way home from mom’s house and found it was full, SRO.  Some people knew what a blessing a Spring day is, and stopped to give the Creator thanks.  I said a prayer outside the small chapel and headed into town to perhaps have a glass of wine, but every restaurant, every bar, every coffee shop was overflowing, with all the outside tables and chairs full also.  Even a stop at the local ice cream parlor was a problem, with a full parking lot and long lines.
Still, even with this bit of inconvenience to my plans, Spring was beautiful.  And as I drove home, I gave praise.

 I walked into my yard to see that Spring flowers were coming up along the fence line.

And the trees in the front yard were in full bloom.

This first Spring weekend was the local home association’s annual
garage sale, and the neighborhood streets were jammed with cars.

My neighbors set up a tent in their drive, and their children hustled customers with their cute looks: “You will buy something, won’t you?”  And everyone, happily, did.  (And for my part, I provided them Popsicles and their dog, Milkbones.)

Meanwhile, I went out to begin my contribution to neighborhood beauty, buying flats of flowers and, contributing to the neighbor’s needs, flats of vegetables. 
My garden overflows each year, and neighbors know they are welcome to pick from it, but discreetly they usually don’t, so I have to go door to door with my excess.  (Although I think they like it more when I cook using food from my garden, giving away excess chili, spaghetti sauce and my eggplant lasagna.)
We were not created merely to obtain our own needs from this earth, and just exist. All our lives we are challenged to evangelize, to be Sowers of the seeds of our faith. 
And one of the more precious things that we sow in this world is beauty.  I wonder, sometimes, if that doesn’t yield even greater harvests than all our preaching.

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