And then there's great beauty...
The other side of Simone Weill's existential coin, is great beauty, and it's true that it's not only great suffering but great beauty which invites us faith, gratitude, and intimacy with our creator. Such is the reality this afternoon. Having spent the morning teaching a class, I came home, changes, and went for a run around the local lake. The air is clear and crisp. The trees a riot of color, and remind me of the 'best wine' in Jesus' story in John 2, where the very best is saved for last. In a month there are no leaves left... but for now, at the very end, the beauty is intoxicating. Couples are walking the lake hand in hand. Moms or Dads are with children. Frisbee. The final gasp of volleyball. Roller blades. Spandex. Coffee. Conversation. Hard core runners. Old man joggers like me. Something tells me it's all happening...at the lake. Beauty, fellowship, health, all that makes life good is there.
But today the lake is even better, because today the bald eagle is parked in a tree right along the jogging paths, stopping crowds and bending necks like superman. Once a big enough crowd has gathered, the eagle puts on a special little show, swooping just over our tilted heads along the path before rising higher and disappearing towards the soccer fields and tennis courts. EVERYONE has stopped to look. Some people had cameras, and I stop to look at one guy's reward, a close up, telephoto of a full spread eagle. Then we get on with our lives, jogging, tossing, talking. But for that moment, that single moment when we all saw, we were captured by the sheer beauty of the moment. Who can know what people do with that encounter. But some of us, I hope, get on with our lives, mindful of God's powerful creativity, God's love of beauty, God's lavish outpouring of glory on all that is created. Somehow, it leads me to worship and gratitude.
These are encounters are rich, uplifting, powerful and, for me at least, enough. I don't have suffering figured out. But I know this much, whether in suffering or beauty, I'm invited to intimacy with the One who created me. And that is stunning! I think I'd rather have a life with suffering in it, AND intimacy, than endless ease in isolation. The latter reminds me of CS Lewis' description of hell in "The Great Divorce"; but I digress. For now it's enough to come home from a great run, bite into a crisp fall apple, and say: "The beauty is there... if we'll take the time to look."