Thursday, March 17, 2016

Beauty

Wow. I feel like besides my spring post Tuesday, all my latest slice-of-life blogs have been real downers. Think I'll focus on the bright side of life for a bit. That should be good for both of us, eh?

You want to know something that puts a spark back into my heart? That a place like this exists for real on earth:


This is Saltee Island Great in Ireland. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I really can't stop staring at this photo. It literally took my breath away for a second when I stumbled on it.

It reminds me of how John and Stasi Eldredge describe beauty in their book Captivating: how beauty isn't just something "nice" to enjoy now and then, but how it is vital--not even in a drudgework, practical way ("I need X, Y, and Z today"), but in a way that breathes life back into our souls.

"Think of what it is like to be caught in traffic for more than an hour. Horns blaring, people shouting obscenities. Exhaust pouring in your windows, suffocating you. Then remember what it's like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow..." (or Saltee Island Great) "There is room for your soul...

"[T]his is what it's like to be with a woman at rest... In her presence your heart stops holding its breath." (Eldredge, 38)

Beauty--especially natural beauty--takes my breath for a second. And then, suddenly, it feels like my soul can breathe normally again. I feel lighter, like someone's taken a fifteen-pound weight off my heart. I remember that, like Samwise Gamgee says at the end of Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Two Towers: "That there's some good in this world... And it's worth fightin' for."

And then I remember that, in everything I do and every story I create, I want to display that kind of beauty. I want to be the kind of person people want to be with because people can breathe again when they're around me. I want to create stories that, despite containing plenty of darkness and danger and fear, will ultimately show the truth: that there is hope and victory and good things in this life, too.

I love the first ending theme of the anime Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin): I've been told its title translates to "Beautiful Cruel World." In it, the female protagonist Mikasa laments the dangers and harshness of reality. A Youtuber I love who goes by the username Adrisaurus once posted her English translation/interpretation of the lyrics:

"How can anybody live in a world that's so cruel and beautiful--
Always fighting to survive the day,
Losing all we have to keep death at bay..."

This is the theme of Mikasa's life. She's seen the worst life has to offer--death, destruction, and almost-constant pain. She knows this is a truth of life.

But...

She also knows that, despite all the cruelty of reality, there is also beauty that is just as real.

"And it's worth fightin' for."

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Oh, also, if you're interested in the book Captivating (which I highly recommend--I'm not a big "EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK" person, but... EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK IT'S SO GOOD), you can also get it for wayyy cheaper on Amazon, here. I just included the link to B&N because they have such a lovely little description of the book~

From Him, To Him

12 comments:

  1. That's good how you think that way. I do wish I had more of your optimism.

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    1. Honestly, when I'm down, I think optimism is a choice. But I've certainly become less and less of an optimist as the years have gone by, lol. I think the important thing is to stay focused on the good, like the Bible says. "Whatever is good, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." NOT an easy task!

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    2. Optimism is a choice? I can see that. I really do want to stay focused on the good. Whenever I see something bad, I can't just ignore it. One friend (who shall remain nameless) says that I should "stop seeing all the hate in the world". If I did that, then I would ignore the suffering of others and not be conscious about different things.

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    4. I definitely think there needs to be a balance. We can't just ignore the ugly things in life, or we'll never be able to grow individually or as a group! But we can't find ourselves getting stuck in ruminating on all the bad stuff, either. The character Iroh said in Avatar: The Legend of Korra that "if you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see." (Thanks to Anuradha Edirisuriya for the exact quote!)

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    5. With that quote, I'm curious if looking for truth would count as looking for the light even if there are uncomfortable things about it.

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    6. I would imagine it depends on what you do with that truth once you obtain it. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle truth.

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    7. I guess so. I want to do good things with the truth. There are times where I felt like I should've said hard truths to people. Also, there's a quote I heard that was something like this: "The truth with bad intent is worse than a million lies."

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    8. That's a great quote. I wish I could remember who said it! It's hard to know whether to speak up or not. It's all about displaying wisdom: knowing what to say and when.

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    9. I'm not sure if it's the exact wording, but the message is there regardless. It was interesting that it was used as a quote for TV Tropes for the Villains Never Lie trope in regards to villains telling the truth to heroes that becomes very painful for them to deal with.

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    10. Oooh. Great place to insert that quote, that's for sure!

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    11. I can't believe I didn't see this comment until now! Yeah, it's quite fascinating. There's a similar quote from Alexandr Pushkin. "The lie that exalts us is greater than a thousand truths."

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