In For a Different Kind of Beauty

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If you were going on a trip to the ocean, would you take along “BRAD’S SALTWATER KIT: PERFECTLY MIMICS THE SEA”? I don’t think so. Recently, I composed two poems, inspired by John 11, but have held off on writing them up and posting on my blog. Both poems may seem to advertise a conceit that I have something worthwhile to add to the sea of God’s glory.

Far from adding to God’s glory, I find myself continually mulling over what I’m missing. Thinking about a story like the raising of Lazarus, I ask if I’m seeing what Jesus wanted the witnesses there — and us! — to see regarding the Father’s glory, his own glory, and how they’re related.

This place of uncertainty and insufficiency, where asking questions is the best I can do… it isn’t all bad.

Over the years, when I and my climbing friends reached high camp, there was a decision each of us had to make: “I’ve come this far; should I summit?” We respected each other’s decisions. There was no shame in saying, “No, I’m not physically or mentally up to it today. I’ll hang around camp while y’all summit.” Even when my answer was “Yes,” I envied those who answered “No.“ They were uncertain, or insufficient that morning, but they were in for a different kind of beauty. While we trudged up the mountain in pre-dawn darkness, the guy who said “No” would warm by the campfire, watching a curtain of light descend on the peaks, as the sun rose from across the valley. Later, he’d poke around camp. Deer and birds would visit him, creatures more comfortable with one silent man than with a group of noisy men. Unhurried, the one left behind would see many things the rest of us had missed.

How long am I willing to linger here, to hang around camp in this section of God’s word? The more I see, the longer I stay. I’m in for a different kind of beauty.

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