May 20, 2012

Sunday Special: Beauty

Spring has sprung here in Utah, and on my walk from the train to work I love looking at the green trees and the flowers everywhere and the blue sky. Because of this I've been thinking a lot about this wonderful world we get to live in and the amazing people that live in the world and I've realized something: Beauty is everywhere, but for some reason a lot of us don't acknowledge it. After wondering why this is, I have come up with two reasons why we don't see the beauty that is all around us.

First, dwelling on the ugly. There are ugly, evil, and wrong things in this world, there is no denying that. There are bad people who do ugly things, and natural disasters that destroy beauty. But, I truly believe that those are not the majority of things in this world, even though we hear about them more than anything else. What about the good people who treat everyone kindly, or work to make someone's life easier? What about blue skies, sunsets, trees, flowers, oceans, animals, beautiful architecture, art, music, books, etc.? Where is our focus?

I think it is necessary for us to know about the ugly things happening in the world, but that shouldn't be what we dwell on. I love reading those stories on Yahoo! about letters that find their destination 60 years later, or someone fighting against all the odds to fulfill their dream. I love reading about an ordinary person becoming someone's hero. I love looking at the stars at night and feeling like there is something so much more than me out there. There is a beauty that we can't even comprehend.

Second, comparisons. You always hear people say things like "There are so many more trees in Oregon--it's so brown here!" or "I wish I looked like her." or "I only date tall, dark, and handsome guys."or whatever. The thing is, beauty isn't something we can make a checklist for. There isn't one ideal of beauty and the more we compare places, people, and ourselves, to what we think of as the pinnacle of beauty, the more unhappy we are going to be. We have to learn to see something for what it is, not what it isn't. People don't go to the Grand Canyon for the forests, they go because it's beautiful in it's own way.

Here's an example. When I was in London, a Sunday School teacher at church asked those in my group what was the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen was. I answered that it was England. (They kind of gave me weird looks like, Really? This is a topic for another day though.) A couple of days ago I met a woman from England, but living in Wales, that had come to visit my grandparents. She loved Salt Lake City! She talked about how beautiful it was and that she never wanted to leave. Now, I think Salt Lake City is a really nice city, and I do think Utah is beautiful, but she had just come from Wales! She was appreciating SLC for what it was, not what it wasn't.

There is beauty in deserts, in forest, in plains, in beaches, in snow, rain, sun, tall people, short people, blue, black, and purple people, fish and mammals, cacti and trees, mountains, round people, and thin people. Find the beauty in whoever you are, whoever you meet, where ever you might be. Don't dwell on the bad things in life. Beauty is there and finding it will make you happier.