LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beauty According to Luci Shaw

I've been reading a fabulous book by poet Luci Shaw called Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith. She speaks to all artists but particularly to writers and especially to me. I've underlined passages on almost every page. I have to share a few with you from her chapter on beauty.

"Beauty is integral, so deeply a part of who we are and what we enjoy that we may take it for granted. Even flawed or marred or distorted as a result of human depravity and failure, it is still visible in the fingerprints of the Creator on the natural world.

"Beauty is perhaps one of the few things that constantly calls us back to God, that reminds us of an ideal of goodness and vitality...Beauty is redemptive. It can motivate us to turn a corner, to pursue a new objective. It awakens us because it is often so surprising" (pp. 22-23).

"Yes, beauty matters. It is important to God. Why else would he shape and color fish, birds, insects, rocks, plants, and people with such rich diversity?" (p. 24).

Shaw also points out that while beauty is personal, it's also universal. All of us gasp at things like waterfalls, glaciers, the oceans, mountains, sunrises and sunsets. Last weekend, under bright sun and blue sky, my family and I drove on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, a highway that blends into the environment while providing access to five mountain ranges, six major rivers, two states, and four national forests. The Blue Ridge Parkway draws people from everywhere every year. On it, we can see "the fingerprints of the Creator", as Shaw says, whether we acknowledge Him or not. It is a road to--and through--beauty and, ultimately, if we follow where it leads, to God. I can't wait to go back.

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