Friday, June 25, 2010


There is an old saying that goes like this, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I suppose that's true. I look at some of the "abstract" art out there and just shake my head, but...what if....I took the time to look for the beauty in those pieces instead of shaking my head and dismissing them? Maybe, I would discover a beauty that I never knew existed. I decided to try just that as I explored the city of Portland, OR. The natural beauty of Oregon is easy to love. I believe God gave every human an innate appreciation of nature; consequently, most everyone finds the mountains, rivers, and lakes here breath taking. Things created by man however, tend to appeal to some, but not all. One of the first things that caught my eye in Portland was the collection of murals that dot the cityscape. Most of them are brightly colored and reflect the culture and experiences of the painter. Most of these were very appealing to me. The next thing I noticed was the architecture of the city. The mixture of gleaming modern buildings and 18th century landmarks make an eclectic mix that is quiet delightful! So far, I've had little difficulty finding beauty in my surroundings. Next I walked along the street looking in the shops and restaurants. There I found many beautiful things to appreciate. I stopped by one art gallery, and gazed at the examples of modern art. I stood there and stared at a piece that looked like a solid black canvas at first,but a closer inspection revealed very subtle color and texture changes that were most beautiful. Fine details that I would have missed had I not taken the time to look closely. Satisfied by my days exploration, I boarded the train back out to the "burbs." While the train was stopped at Goose Hollow, I looked out the window, and noticed a man standing on the sidewalk in filthy clothes. He was chewing on a plastic bag, and had a crazy look on his face. I chuckled and told myself that Portland was indeed a strange place. I looked back at him as the train departed, but this time instead of a crazy look on his face....I saw a sad look. I wondered to myself if he had any family or friends, but I knew the answer in my heart. As the train glided into the tunnel ahead, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My eyes began to tear up as I thought"who thinks he is beautiful? Who loves him?" I also knew the answer to that question in my heart. I began having another revelation. All of the buildings, art, and food I had seen today reflected the taste and heart of their creators. Those who created these things loved them and were proud of them. Then I remembered who created me, and you, and the crazy looking guy eating plastic. My heart was broken and I fought back tears as I realized how callously I treated one of God's creations, even if only in my own mind. I had been looking for hidden beauty in the wrong places. You see, the building, paintings, even the lakes and mountains will all pass away, but a soul is eternal. The One who made me, and you, and him reflected His taste and His heart in His creation. He loves ALL of His creations, and we should love ALL of them too. I will still look for beauty in things that I find unappealing at first, but my first priority will be to look for beauty in things He created in His own image. Even if all I can do is love them because He does, that's what I will do.