Beauty, that’s what’s on my mind. Arguments are being made left and right by people who want to put an end to ugliness. And I’m on board with that, especially as it relates to the ugliness in my own heart. I see deep-seated ugliness in myself many times throughout the day, as I make quick judgments about people, based merely on appearance or their confusion about reality.
That I should have a lower opinion of man than God does is probably the epitome of my poor judgment, the basement of my stupidity. But there it is: I think poorly of what God loves. This is ugliness in my heart, and I project it on the world around me.
This attracts me. I’m never repulsed by beauty, are you? Want to convince me of something? Show me not just the ugliness of what you would have me set aside, but the beauty of what you would have me reach for.
We are sometimes blinded to ugliness. We are also blinded to beauty. Arguments should open eyes to beauty, to what could be, and in the end will be: a world fully aware and appreciative of beauty, perfectly reflecting God.
I’m reminded of a poem by Gerard Manly Hopkins. I can’t say that I understand every line of this yet, but let me attempt a reading, nonetheless:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
— Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877