Aug 17, 2015

Why finding beauty is important

There was one little boy in a John Deer tractor shirt. The sun poured hot over the ranch and we went to sit in the "shadows,” with the wild cow in the corral and the "cute little yellow birds", hungry in the yard. We took Popsicles in the heat of the morning and "Let's go eat in the backhoe." The dusty seat in a piece of machinery that "Daddy droved when he was a lil boy." The mud from the "fire truck water" we shouldn't get on our shoes.

Purple and red make gray. Popsicles turn your tongue colors, and "let's have a nudder one." So we did and ate them in the backhoe. Again. Because time is short and the day soon ends. Summer will be over and autumn will not be long enough, and there's loads of Popsicles to remember yet. To shake and laugh because they're so cold in our mouth, and wash sticky green fingers, with dirt from play under finger nails.

I didn't know it was such a precious memory until later. When the family wanted to know how my day went, and I told them, and in repeating to them these things I knew how rare and original—this eating of popsicles in a backhoe with a little boy who talks more than you do. I knew that this was good and true, this kid who remembers every piece of construction equipment by name and shows you what Dad uses to plow the fields and the pellets in the meat smoker.

This simple afternoon in spring wasn't just another day. Because living is not just another day.

And I know. I know life seems like it's just one big, social media pit. Like you're doing the same empty thing every single day, and you're afraid, and how can you ever be capable of doing something that means something? 

How do you get off making colors when the world's this black and white, play by my rules or else place? 

Who are you to say that the rare and original, the beautiful and meaningful things in life are backhoes and popsicles, that mud is important? 

That little boys can teach you it's okay just to be silent because the ones who talk the most just really want someone to listen, and the one's silent just really need to listen to someone. Who are you to find good things when there's dying kids in Iraq and school shootings in your hometown? Who are you? And who am I?

Us. You and me? Nobodies in a world screaming mad with grief and pain?

But I'll tell you one thing: it isn't us.

In all this crazy world, it isn't about us.

Yes, it's about popsicles and green sticky fingers, and all the crazy stories that swirl your life from work to friends, to life at your house, your apartment over looking a Harlem street, or the hard, mean face of the boy you saw in Wal Mart. It's about them.

It's about the way you see the world. Because nobody but nobody see's it like you do.

And what if we just see it all as black and white and there's never any color? It's like the words of that song about love and how David danced for the Lord.

Beauty is sometimes broken, and beauty is sometimes this silent shiver of fear. And we need beauty and we need brokenness because it's like what Paul says in Romans, that even though we were disobedient we have received mercy because of their disobedience.

And maybe we need bad things, too, to help us see the good things already here, already given, mercy.

Because finding beauty in the face of heartbreak and anguish is one step closer to understanding this Man on a tree who took all the ugly and made it beautiful. 

And popsicles and sticky green fingers? They're beauty in an ugly world. 

And you and me? He made us fit to find His goodness because He found even us.
Because the way you see the world is rare and it is original.


Christa Upton said...

What a wonderful post!!!! You are amazing, sweetie. I praise God for the writing and artistic gifts He has given you.

K. M. Updike said...

Thank you, Christa. God is so good.