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Finding Beautiful when Life Isn’t

Life gets ugly. Sometimes it’s really really ugly. Like today, when as a nation we collectively remember 9/11.

I’m guessing we all remember that moment when the truth of what was happening sunk in. We were riveted to the TV in silence while the horror unfolded.

Life sure can get ugly.

In the days, weeks, months, and years since that day, we’ve heard, read, or watched stories of uncommon courage, sacrifice, and love that happened on or after 9/11. First responders, health care professionals, volunteers, and ordinary people filled the ranks of “heroes.”

Those courageous, sacrificial, and loving acts lift heavy souls, do they not?

That’s what beauty does. Beauty is a mover, a change agent, a lifter of souls.

And when life gets ugly, be it from a divorce, a lost job, cancer, natural disaster, relationship crisis, some form of attack on you or a loved one, or the death of a loved one, it’s imperative to find beauty.

It’s food and oxygen for a hungry and gasping soul.

When my life imploded a few years back, I made finding beauty a constant pursuit. Instinctively, I sought it out like I never had before. Beauty in nature, in art, in song, in truth, in the words and acts of humans with love in their hearts.

Sometimes it took my breath away, sometimes it gave me the oxygen to keep moving forward. Beauty lifted my soul in ways that philosophy, sermons, well wishers, and platitudes couldn’t.

But more on that another time.

I’m thinking of our Nation today, and how in the midst of remembering an ugly day, as well as facing a national culture that seems to get uglier by the minute, we need to be intentional about finding beauty.

Beauty in our diversity. Beauty in our history. Beauty in our creativity. Beauty in courage and sacrifice. Beauty in our collective strength.

I’m also thinking of individual friends for whom life is really ugly right now. Perhaps you. Perhaps not. Who knows what’s around the corner?

Brokenness, loss, grief, pain, ugly. They’re everywhere.

But, so is beauty.

Find it today.

Find it in the clouds marching across a blue sky; at the ocean, stream or mountain; in a flower, tree, or bird in flight; in a poem, dance, or painting; in your children playing at the park; in your lover’s eyes.

Find beauty. Breathe it in. Hold it. It will lift your soul.

[feel free to share this if you're so inclined]

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