Beauty Beckons Us Beyond the Veil
Beauty. One of the greatest of all transcendent mysteries, it is an everyday point of contemplation and yet so elusive at the same time. What is it? How does it produce in me its unique effects so instantly every time I encounter it? How can one reality, one experience manifest itself in so many different ways? How can one word conjure up so many memories, journeys, reunions, and timeless moments where we met beauty face to face and embraced? What is this great mystery and how are to understand it?
Allow me to set the stage with an example. Suppose a dear friend of mine and I find ourselves high atop a craggy peak overlooking a great mountain range. As I take in the magnificent scene before us, I say to him, "What a beautiful view!" But to my surprise my friend shrugs in exhausted apathy, dismissively quipping, "Just a bunch of rocks..."
This happens in various ways throughout life. What I see before us in this example is life itself. I see the base of the valley, the depths from which life begins to gradually ascend the sloping mountainside. I see the trials and errors along the ascent, the pitfalls and perils of life's gritty crawl skyward. The earth reaches up, seeking the immortal touch of the heavens, her groom since time's beginning, beheld with hope of an eternal union. As earth reaches heavenward, so too does Heaven reach down for her. The rain falls down upon her, a sign of his pure desire to nurture and provide for her. He shades her with the loving, blanket-like shadows he casts with each cloud - a peaceful darkness, a calming respite.
All these things are what I see when I choose to have eyes open to wonder and awe rather than confining myself to the unimaginative reductionism, skepticism, or suspicion of my anecdotal friend. Beauty opens my eyes to the unending love story between Creator and created, and our surest sign of a world beyond this one. Beauty unlocks our imaginations so they are capable of intuiting what is really there beyond the veil! But unimaginative hearts often corrupt our once faithful and hopeful eyes, shutting them tightly to this universal romance. Would that we all learn to see once more with the eyes through which the Great Lover looks upon the beloved for whom his heart yearns.