Some Encouragement For You...
I’ve often heard that nature can be healing, but I think this truth has never been so important to me until now, when many of us are forced to stay local and slow waaaayyyy down. I have more time to check out the clouds, to contemplate those leaves hanging just outside my window, and to notice the hedgehogs that crunch around my neighborhood. I’m thankful I live in a very lush country.
Counselor and author John Eldridge shares how apathetic we can often be about our surrounding splendor: “Too often we just notice and go on, like a pedestrian who steps over a hundred-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk. Stop and pick it up! In these moments you open yourself and receive beauty, the gift, the grace – receive it into your being.” Some days can be downright depressing at times, but I’ve taken Eldridge’s advice and found myself metaphorically picking up the hundred-dollar bills around me.
Here in England during stricter lockdowns, we are allowed out of doors for one physical exercise per day. My husband and I like to take daily walks. I make a point to admire the berries, flowers, odd-shaped leaves, and loud birds. If my neighborhood is an art gallery, they’d be the artwork.
Maybe walks aren’t your thing. Instead, it’s your cat’s paws in the air, bubbles that pop from your dish soap, or the smell of something yummy that is baking in the oven. For me, the key is to intentionally search for beauty beyond my current situation and pain; because even if I am hurting, I admire it when I find it. Thankfulness wells up inside me because beauty still exists, despite the aching in the world; and this is encouraging. I get a burst of energy that keeps me going.
Even when we don’t spend a lot of time outside, natural beauty can lovingly creep in when we look for it. Notice the sky that peeks in your windows. Think of the dancing shadows in your house or the cheerful beams of light that streak through your hallway. Appreciate the way your dog has fuzzy eyebrows or a wrinkly forehead.
Again and again I see that there is something healing about recognizing beauty around me, even when my situation is grim. I’m rejuvenated that there is still attractiveness in a world that can be very ugly. What about you? Are you open to beauty in your life, even in the midst of grief and anxiety? Or have you stopped looking?
Please, don’t ever stop looking for it.