About 2-1/2 years ago, my dad was experiencing memory-loss episodes that had my mom thinking about moving to an assisted living facility.
When we were talking about it together, she said, “You know what I’d miss most about this place (their current apartment)? The red walls!”
We laughed about that. But there’s this pang inside that says—yeah, it’s not a joke. She’d really miss those two walls that she had specially painted when they moved in.
I’ve written about beauty before—specifically in nature. And the more I think about it and write about, the less I feel I need to justify our love for it…and our need of it.
In all honesty, it’s taken me a long time to get to that place in my own mind. I’m so practical by nature that I’ve always tended to look for the functional justification for beauty.
Now I know better!
Beauty is an amazing gift from an amazing God. If it serves no other purpose than to bring us joy…a smile…an “ah” feeling inside…then it’s worth it.
Whether it’s a gorgeous blue-sky-with-fresh-snow day (like we have today) or a red wall in the living room—beauty feeds the soul and the spirit.
Beauty is Therapy
I’ve had a pretty intense last week-and-a-half involving some family members and close friends.
So this morning when a scheduled work call had to be canceled by the other party at the last minute, I jumped at the chance to get outside for a walk earlier than I had planned on.
It was cold—about 5º. But four new inches of fresh powdery snow, deep blue sky and sunshine called my name, and out I went.
It was the best therapy I could’ve chosen!
That 50 minutes or so in fresh air surrounded by so much visual beauty did wonders. I came back in more relaxed and ready to get back to work.
It also gave me some free mental space to thank the Lord for all this beauty, and pray about some of these areas I’ve been involved in.
Beauty is a Feast for Our Senses
Of course beauty isn’t just about what we see, but about all our senses.
On my walk earlier, I suddenly heard the song of a cardinal. There he was, sitting at the tip-top of a snow-laden spruce tree, bright red against the blue sky. Beauty for my eyes and my ears.
Creating Beauty is Therapy, Too
Because we’re made in the image of the Creator of the universe, we also can create. Creating beauty visually, with music, by writing, in dance or by crafting something is incredibly invigorating and fulfilling.
After my dad moved to a memory care facility two years ago (my mom never ended up moving from her apartment—she still has her red walls!), my mom took up painting again. Something she hadn’t done since the 70s.
It was so good for her to have that means to create beauty during those last two years of my Dad’s life. It helped keep her focus on more than just his decline.
Since his home-going a year ago this month, she’s continued to paint regularly. The rest of us benefit, too, since we have new artwork for our homes 🙂
Beauty is Personal
Beauty isn’t the same for all of us. For example, lots of my Minnesota Facebook friends are so tired of winter and all the snow we’re getting. There’s no more beauty in it for them!
That’s fine. To each his own, as they say.
But know what kind of beauty moves you, and feed your soul with it.
You’ll be healthier emotionally, spiritually and mentally…which in turn will help boost your physical health, too.
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Sharon is the founder and publisher of Active Outdoor Women. She loves getting outside in beautiful places to hike, paddle, camp, snowshoe, ski, ride—and encouraging others to come along! Besides maintaining AOW and her other website, Twin Cities Outdoors, Sharon writes and designs websites, newsletters, blogs, emails, books and other marketing tools for clients.