Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My daughter sees beauty.  Her mind and heart want to express it and so I get these tiny pieces of paper from her sporadically that she refers to as “poetry” and so I read it as poetry.  I understand the looking for words, the words to capture what you see only the way you can.

When she was in first grade, she gave me this slip of paper at the lake.

It is evening.
The sky is pink and orange.
It is night and all the lights are out.

Three years later, that sky is still capturing her.  I got this one a couple of weeks ago.

The sun is shining,
Bright and clear;
Red and orange,
Day is here.

In her 9 years, she has seen more sunsets than sunrises, but it’s His creativity that she remembers.

In my looking for words, I sometimes see Scrabble tiles, all jumbled like on the tray in my guest room, and on rare occasion, I see words and phrases, that work in recreating the picture I see.  My heart swells when I read Julia’s simplistic words, arranged in stanza, communicating a sight that isn’t forgotten~ a picture that came to mind while trying to fall asleep.  She’s learning about beauty.  His beauty and the life, the joy it brings as we experience it.  To me, to us, beauty is big.

{The author reminiscing his childhood}  He remembered as though it were but a few days ago that winter night, himself too young even to know the meaning of beauty, when he had looked up at a delicate tracery of bare black branches against the icy glittering stars:  suddenly something that was, all at once, pain and longing and adoring had welled up in him, almost choking him.  He had wanted to tell someone, but he had no words, inarticulate in the pain and glory.  It was long afterwards that he realized that it had been his first aesthetic experience.  That nameless something that had stopped his heart was BEAUTY.  Even now, for him, “bare branches against the stars” was a synonym for beauty.
~ Sheldon Vanauken  {Severe Mercy}

My room was on the second floor of my childhood home.  Who knows how many hours, tucked into my bed, I spent staring out between the pine trees relishing the nights of seasons I could see the moon sparkling on the water?  And around 11pm, the train would go by across the road and cause the water to shimmer even more.  Always I notice sun or moon on the water.  Anywhere.  Jewels dancing and disappearing and reappearing.  It’s one of those things that can’t be photographed or painted..... well.  In that room, I had no words for what I saw at night.  Julia sees it too.  But she has words.  Praise the Lord, she has words.

Another tiny piece of paper decorated in red pen:

The water looks like diamonds,
Blue and sparkly.
So pretty it shines,
With the sun.

I want to see beauty.  In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.  Isn’t beauty what we yearn to burn with before we die?  What else so ignites, hot flame?  Beauty is all that is glory and God is Beauty embodied, glory manifested.  This is what I crave:  I hunger for Beauty.  Is that why I must keep up the hunt?  When I cease the beauty hunt, is that why I begin to starve, waste away?
~ Ann Voskamp {One Thousand Gifts}

Without knowing it, I hungered for beauty when I was younger.  His creative image within me carved out a place for it.  He nourished me with it even when I didn’t realize I was looking for it.  I notice it now~ sometimes better than others.  Brother and sister deciding it’s more fun to be nice to each other and the laughter that follows.  Leaves falling outside.  A melody that makes me stop.  Remnants of imaginations hard at work.  Forests of trees.  Children while they sleep.  “Fall” scattered through our home.  Naturally, Julia seeks it.  Never does she glow more when she is out looking, experiencing and finding.  His beauty gives her dreams and hopes to build upon.  One of her Kindergarten dreams was to live in the woods in a log cabin and play the guitar.  Because I know her, even now, that’s not so far-fetched.  She’d be awfully happy.  And I’d love visiting her.

What more, you may ask, do we want?  Ah, but we want so much more--- something the books on aesthetics take little notice of.  But the poets and the mythologies know all about it.  We do not merely want to SEE beauty, though, God knows even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words-- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become a part of it.
~ C.S. Lewis {The Weight of Glory}

I am not so “prose-y” that I get that, really.  See, I am not a dreamer.  To “bathe” in beauty or “to pass into it” seems a little mystical to me.  But “mystical” is just other- worldly, right?  And this world is not my home.  Beauty that we’ve never experienced lies just on the other side.  His side.  Where He dwells.  I can dream about passing into that and being united with Him.

In all of Julia’s looking and seeing, I want to be a part of it with her, to draw it out, her thoughts, her words about what she sees and how His beauty all around makes her feel.  And in her most earnest seeking, I pray she finds the Source of all the things she sees, of all the beauty she finds.  It’s Him.  It’s always been Him.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek............all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him in His temple. {Psalm 27:4}


Alyssa said...

Love how Julia is living out Psalm 27:4 and that she has the words for people like me who can't always find them. Thank you for sharing her beautiful poems!
P.S. - That picture of the kiddos with the rainbow in the background is breathtaking!

nikki said...

i'd like to come along when you visit jks in her little cabin....and, you must know, this post was beauty to me.

Krista Sanders said...

N- thanks for the book, Severe Mercy. I am loving it--perfect for that 40th year!

TJ Wilson said...

beauty-ful, K. really. goodness, you have the words now.