Perhaps it is the discipline of daily thanksgiving, carried out over the last two years. Perhaps it is the the worship of my mighty God, Creator of all that is beautiful. Perhaps it is the frequent prayers that my eyes would be opened to God’s work around me and in me.
Whatever it is, as my prayer life has deepened and my relationship with God has become more than just an outward fact of my life– as it has become the very truest reality of my life– I have begun to drink in the beauty around me with new eyes.
The stark winter trees against the early morning’s orange sky in the winter. The view on the way to guitar lessons just as you come over the hill– and the way it changes with the seasons and time of day and always fills me with expectation. The smell of the my son’s hair right after a shower, of toast with peanut butter, of clean sheets right out of the dryer.
I have come alive to the glory of color and texture and the funny way my daughter’s two front teeth are growing in, and I hold can’t help touching things at the store even as I tell the kids not to, because the soft and the smooth and the bumpy all bring a kind of delight.
There is beauty in my shiny blue crochet hook and in Grandma’s apron wrapped around me as I cook for my family, beauty in the multitude of colors and drippy accidents on my toes after Pooka gives me a pedicure, beauty in the way we sit around the table and pass the vegetables.
All my senses drink in the loveliness of this life, which is sweet because it is given by God’s hand, even when the world around me seems so very brutally ugly.
A day will come when all the ugly will be gone, when nothing except glory and beauty and the precious face of Jesus will fill my eyes. But until then, He tells me to think on what is pure and lovely and excellent and true– what is virtuous and praiseworthy– and opens my eyes to it so I see it and stand in awe.
Breathing deep of the glories of this good life, seeking daily to rejoice in the Lord and give thanks in all things, I find my heart protected as the God of peace dwells with me and overwhelms me with His perfect peace, even on the darkest and ugliest of days.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.