Made for Beauty

Views from the Reynolds Mountain Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

We were made for beauty.  God made the earth with beauty that we could enjoy and experience; in heaven, there is endless beauty.  Beauty touches His heart, and as such, it touches our hearts, too.

Pinnacle Peak from Lava Mountain, Wyoming

There are several kinds of beauty: the beauty we see in the world around us, beauty we hear in music or a sound we love, beauty in the good qualities we sense or see evidence of in the people around us.  Each of these begins in the heart of God and is translated to us through what we can see and hear and feel.

Flowers in the Willowwood Arboretum, New Jersey

The dictionary defines “beauty” as, “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.”  In other words, beauty is a combination of triggers that in some way touches our senses in a pleasing way.

Blue Lake, Virginia Lakes Trail, California

When we see beauty, it impacts us.  If we allow ourselves to internalize it, the beauty that we see touches on our minds, our emotions, and even our physical bodies.  It relaxes us, changes our perspectives and attitudes, and helps us to see more clearly (and a bit less selfishly).

Delicate Arch from the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Arches National Park, Utah

I’ve been to viewpoints in the national parks where people hopped out of their cars, glanced at the view, maybe took a picture, and then raced back to their cars to continue to the next viewpoint.  While there’s nothing wrong with viewpoint-hopping, too many of these people never really took in the view.  They saw it with their eyes, but it didn’t impact them.  They saw something, but they didn’t let it register within them as “beautiful”.

Lower Yosemite Falls from Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Maybe they were having a bad day.  Maybe they were still stressed from work.  Maybe this wasn’t the kind of view that registers as “beautiful” to them.  I’m not trying to judge them – but these are all things that can get in the way of us truly seeing beauty.

Western Columbine at Gavilan Falls, New Mexico

We can become so wound up in our own thoughts, emotions, and problems that we see beauty without seeing it.  We drive right by a tree in full and glorious fall color – but we’re thinking out our next business appointment, so we barely even notice.  The moon comes up as a copper penny, but we’re tired and so we’re only thinking about the things that need to be done before we can go to bed.  Even in the wilderness, sometimes we’re too worried about staying safe or the impending storm or taking the right turn at the next trail junction or the personal problems back home – and we miss out on the quiet green beauty of the woods, the delicate beauty of a flower, or the spectacular vista down below the trail on the cliff edge.

Wildflowers near Coyote Gulch, Utah

The problem with missing beauty is that we were made for beauty.  Without beauty, we stagnate.  We need that internalization of beauty to give rest to the emotions within us, quiet the stress-triggers, and remind us of something outside of ourselves.  When we see beauty in something that touches God’s heart – fall leaves, a wildflower, mountains, lakes, and other things He has made; music like we might hear in heaven – we touch God’s heart, too, and connect with His pleasure and His purpose here on earth as it is in heaven.