‘There is nothing wrong with the love of Beauty. But Beauty – unless she is wed to something more meaningful – is always superficial’. (The Secret History)
Over the last few years my life has been marked by searching for God in the darkest of places. I know what it is to glimpse God amidst the storm. Now I sense that season is coming to an end. A new season is tempting me from the shadows and is whispering of change and colour. There is grace to be found. There is a new understanding of God waiting to be discovered.
I have felt nudged towards the idea of ‘wedded beauty’ for the last few years. The idea that beauty, when it is partnered with virtue, holds something of ‘life in abundance’ that I am yet to understand.
I have often dismissed beauty as an added extra or unnecessary and I have begun to wonder if I have missed the point of ‘the beautiful’. In the past I would have required solid evidence and supporting arguments before I was willing to believe that truth and beauty can be cleaved together in an untainted way. But I am beginning to wonder if there is little room for such rigid thinking (read: cynicism) in the pursuit of beauty.
One of my favourite books is ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt. It is a beautiful and tragic coming of age novel. It is a dark and shadowed story told with brutal grace. For me, reading it has always been the journey towards truth in hard and dark places. One of the recurring themes in ‘The Secret History’ is ‘what is beauty?’ This book has been nudging me towards this idea of ‘what is beauty’ for years. And now seems like a good time to pursue it. I am grateful for a gentle God that started me on this journey amongst Tartt’s familiar and resonate words.
And while this may seem like a strange choice for a 31 day writing challenge, this was the first thing I thought of and I have dwelled on this idea for a long time, so it seems right.
I want to spend the next 31 days pursing beauty. Pursing how beauty can change our lives, how it can reveal truth, how it can bring comfort when nothing else will, how we meet with beauty and how beauty can storm our hearts and minds. And how, just maybe, God can unleash truth and mercy and abundant life through beauty.
My ‘31 day challenge’ plan is to think about beauty and to ask God to reveal truth and life through this journey. I want to understand the grace and goodness of God more.
And at the end, I hope to be able to sit comfortably, and with conviction, in agreement or not, with the idea that beauty, unless wedded to something meaningful is always superficial.
Each day I will post on a new idea on this theme and I will link it back to this page. I’d love to hear your thoughts. x
(there is no guarantee that below will be what the end result looks like!)
- Beauty is…
- ‘Genuine beauty is always alarming’ – The Secret History
- Simple Beauty
- Beautiful Things
- I will sit a little longer
- The Google Rabbit Warren
- A Reprieve
- Wedded Beauty Free Write (the journey so far)
- Not prepared for this
- Quiet Night
- The Morning After
- Enough for today
- I am choosing
- I am choosing
- I am curious and I am learning
- Where there is no beauty
- Beauty via SMS
- NT Wright and the senior cousins
- If I’m honest
- Consumer me
- And the great artists say…
- Beauty according to
- Pursuing beauty
- For the love of Monet
- Beauty according to Fredrick Buechner
- Beauty according to Thomas Merton
- God in the storm
- ….and on…