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Artist, Teacher, Blogger concerned with American culture, its effect on faith and how Christianity effects American culture, specifically, what the word "christian" means to Americans today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Is Beauty?

What is beauty? I have always been a little... shall we say... different when it come to seeing beauty. This was really evident when I was little, because then, if you were nice, you were pretty. It didn't matter what you looked like to anyone else. And if you you were mean... well, you weren't pretty and no one could tell me different.   I honestly could not see what others saw and had quite a few arguments with my Grandmother over who was "pretty" (which to me meant good) and who wasn't in our family, with me defending those who I felt were beautiful against her obvious poor judgement.

 Well as time went on and I became more aware of the world around me and attempted to find my placement it, the rose colored glasses I viewed the world through in my youth faded and became more clear. I began to recognize what the rest of the world saw. Who was attractive and who wasn't. Who was popular and who wasn't. Who was acceptable and who wasn't, but I am happy to report that although my eyes may recognize what the world sees, my heart doesn't. It still sees beauty as truth, kindness, gentleness, courage, as noble.

 For me, beauty is and will always be an issue of character and not how much you paid for your clothes or how popular you are or how pretty the world thinks you are... all of which can change at any given moment, depending on what's in vogue. Merrian-Webster's Dictionary defines "beauty" as, "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing, that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Loveliness." "Loveliness" is defined as, "eliciting love by moral or ideal worth" and I agree. Beauty for me is lovely. It is a loving action or a person who shows love... love for others as well as love for God.

I have had the honor of knowing people who to look at, wouldn't warrant a mention, but whose actions and hearts were so beautiful, they moved me to tears. I am still nourished by their love, even though many are long gone. My Aunt Willie Mae, my Grandfathers William Howell and James Robinson, without their teaching, love and guidance, I would't be here today. Mrs. Frank, Sis. Therese, Father Gillian, Pastor Daryl Coley, Pastor Pearl Taylor and Pastor Chris Kringle (and yes that was really his name), whose instruction, spiritual guidance and prayers continue to inform and cover me and whose example of what it means to be a servant, a leader, a king and a priest, I find so very beautiful.

None of the men and women mentioned above would be considered beautiful by today's standards. They didn't drive fancy cars or have flashy wardrobes. Many of them didn't have big degrees. They wouldn't be voted prom King or Queen. They wouldn't be elected politicians or celebrities, but they were... and are still more beautiful to me than you will ever know. I have come to the conclusion that what I instinctively knew as a child, and what the word of God confirms for me today, is that what is truly beautiful in life... is love... in all it's forms, and God is love (1 Jn. 4:7). "Now abideth faith, hope, love these three, but the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13).

 So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of the post, "what is beauty?", for me, the answer is simple, beauty is the manifestation of the love of God in the world... Beauty is God.
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