Sometimes life is like a passing glimpse of fields under a summer evening sunset as you fly by in your car. You only catch a glimpse of the beauty.
Last week I was housesitting for some friends. They live out in a semi-rural area; I was not only was alone, but I was also surrounded by some beautiful country scenery. Last week also happened to be the most beautiful period of summer weather so far this year.
I was driving back to the house in the evening when I passed a farmer’s field, framed by trees, which were consequently cast against the most beautiful summer sunset. But it was gone in a flash. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t (and if I had looked at it any longer I would have driven off the road). The necessity of a six-cylinder engine and the rules of the road impelled me on.
Later, I was thinking about how this occurs often to us in this life we live in modern society. Partly by the turn of the great wheel we all communally grind and partly by our own choice; we often can only catch glimpses of beauty as we pass by, and there is no way or no time to stop and take it in. We are creatures that feed on crumbs most of the time.
And I think this, perhaps, introduces another problem. I find that, at times, when I do have the chance to take in beauty, I am unable to do so. I step outside of my house to gaze up at a star-bejeweled sky, but then five minutes later I’m headed back in. Maybe I’ve got something on my "to do" list gnawing at the back of my mind like a mouse on cheese. Or something else calls me. Either way, I have been trained by our hectic society to avoid stillness and contemplation. My capacity to receive beauty has been constricted.
Of course, upon further thought, this inability is probably not restricted to our modern age. It is something that lies within all of us, that has probably only been exacerbated in our time. It has to do with sin. Sin has corrupted our ability to delight in and take in true beauty. We have become lustful of flash, glitter and kitsch, and we cannot imbibe wholesome beauty. Of course, there’s a faint glimmer that shines throughout the shrouds of our poverty at times. We get struck, unaware, with a ray of beauty, and we stand in awe because, within our hearts, even corrupted, is a vestige of what we once had.
Of course, as Christians, we have tremendous hope. As a popular worship song says, Light of the World / You stepped down into darkness / Opened my eyes let me see / Beauty that made this heart adore You / Hope of a life spent with You"
Christ has opened our eyes to the beauty of His person, and also to the creation that He has made. He is continually stripping aside the veneers that this world casts over its rotten creations and cheap imitations. He is making us whole again.
So, even though sometimes I’m being driven on through life with too much to stop and ponder, I take those moments and hold onto them as precious reminders. And maybe someday, when this earth is renewed, I’ll go back to that field in the sunset, and be able to truly take it all in, with the time to contemplate and the heart to receive it.