I am not a woman who creates beautiful things, but I sincerely applaud and even turn a shade of green at the acknowledgement of those of you who are. In brainstorming for this post, I wanted to share the process of something beautiful I have created, but I honestly stared blankly into an empty portfolio. I could only think of one handsome apple pie I baked and the time – long ago – when Carson said, “Mama, I wish I could color as good as you” – the crowning compliment of my artistic ventures. Oh yeah, I did paint our cat’s water bowl and a soap dish in our bathroom (which is really meant to be a sushi dish). And I can strategically place tissue paper in a gift bag or basket and make it look adequate. That’s it, I’m afraid.
So, I confess. I cannot take a twig, a scrap of ribbon, a feather, a plum, a few fern fronds, and a piece of bubblegum and make a glorious centerpiece. I do not prepare meals that are aesthetically appealing. I am at a loss when it comes to decorating. I cannot sew. I am inept at arranging flowers. I do not grow beautiful things and have, therefore, relinquished that duty to my husband, who is much better at it than I am. I am unable to make a pleasant sound with my voice or any other instrument under the sun. I am not crafty, and I do not smock (is that even a real verb?). I am dangerous with a hot glue gun but not in a creative sense, and I cannot work magic with a spool of ribbon. I do not tie well-formed bows, not on a gift or a dress. Back in the day I seriously stopped buying dresses for my daughters that required me to tie a bow. Those two long strips of fabric on the sides of a dress taunted me and dared me to put my deficiency on display on the backsides of my darlings, and I refused and instituted my own personal boycott.
Furthermore, I have spent my life surrounded by women who are beauty engineers: my Nana, my mom, my stepmother, my aunt, my mother-in-law, great friends. They can work miracles with paint and pastries and photographs and flowers and baskets and bows, and they are generous enough to bail me out when my life has required something beautiful from me (creative art projects for school, home improvement projects, gifts, entertaining, etc…).
Lest I need therapy before I finish writing this, I have discovered my role here. I am a beholder. My life is richer because of the beauty that surrounds me – whether it’s lyrics and a beat that so precisely articulate my heart or candlelight or a Clemson sunset or the furious flapping of a hummingbird or the funky paintings hanging on the walls of a coffeehouse. I see it on the face of a smiling child, in the patterns and stitches of a quilt made by my Nana, in the lush wildness of an uninterrupted forest, and in a poignant photograph of people I don’t even know. My experience with beauty often shocks my system and causes me to catch my breath and stare; I am hungry to live in that state of wonder and awe regarding the beauty and complexity around me. I am content to be a beholder.
But I am more. I am the daughter of the Creator of beautiful things. All beauty and truth find their origin in Him, and He whispers that I am more. I am an object of beauty – not because of my appearance or my intelligence or even my goodness or kindness – simply because I’m His. Like any proud father, He gushes that He is “enthralled by [my] beauty” (Psalm 45:11) and yours. And I think that’s just beautiful…