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