As a young child, my view of the world was full of wonder. However, I became confused rather suddenly when ugliness came in and snatched the wonder away for the first time. I then found myself becoming unsure about whether or not to embrace the joy when it came my way.
There are so many distractions from what is beautiful. I came to realize though that the ugly things need not replace the beautiful. Rather, they can co-exist to make the beautiful, in contrast, look even better.
It's all about placement. We can be so surrounded by horrid things that the gorgeous world can seem out of reach. Ugliness is inevitable, but when I deliberately seek out beauty, it helps sustain me as I walk through my grief - I acknowledge the bad and then choose to let beauty dictate my day.
It's simple. And hard. Where is the beauty?
Look at the branches behind the bird in my drawing from childhood. . . I managed to be observant enough as a seven-year-old to notice the different tones and tints of the berries and to celebrate those along with the smiling woodpecker, even though confusing ugliness still lingered from my previous summer.
Every day that I choose gratitude, it allows me to slow down enough to notice the beautiful thoughts moments, memories or sights and pull them close to me, gather them, even hoard them. This way when the ugly hits, I have a stash of beauty close by.
God himself surrounded himself with beauty and today, we can still enjoy that beauty or create our own. Just the act of creating brings a valued joy. Just the observance of creation fills a hole. I hope you can find a way to gather beauty today: read some old thank you cards, draw a picture, set a gorgeous table, memorize a loved one's face. Take a moment.