The Beauty that Surrounds Us

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Since Joshua and I moved to California, I’ve had a bit of a whining problem. The transition across the country has been more difficult than anticipated and anxious, grumbling thoughts have crowded my mind and clouded my heart. Surrounded by the unfamiliar, my initial reaction has been to hide from everything unknown and disappear inside myself. The problem is that we have now lived here for over five months and I’ve just now begun to emerge from the darkness of grumbling and complaining.

A few weeks ago, I was reminded to find the beauty that surrounds me. My first thought was, “There’s nothing beautiful about my surroundings.” I quickly shut it down and began to think about it more fully. What are the beautiful things that surround me? Where does the glory of God shine the brightest? Where is the subtle beauty of the Lord resting? Where is God beckoning me to come closer, look deeper, and find beauty beneath the surface?

One of the things in my new home that I find to be extraordinary is the vibrancy of color in nature. I’ve never seen the sky look so blue or the sun shine so brightly. Every morning on my way to work, as I make the final turn on the highway, I suddenly driving straight into the mountains. After four months of daily driving the same route, the view still takes my breath away. There are times when the mountains and clouds and sky all come together to make a beautiful purple gray that  I’m certain could never be duplicated by any painter.

I’ve also fallen more in love with coffee since moving across country. Cappuccinos are now a regular part of my life. I love learning more about coffee as an art, as a thing of beauty. I now appreciate latte art and the way coffee looks in my cup. Visiting new coffee shops brings such joy to Josh and I, even more than it has in the past.

Something that is a little bit harder for me is finding the beauty in the details of every day life. I wake up, get dressed, drink my coffee, and go to work. I take a lunch break, go back to work, get off at 5. I then go home, cook dinner (or help Josh cook dinner), eat, then sit on the couch for a few hours before going to bed in order to wake up and do it all over. It’s been easy to be discouraged and to feel as if this rhythm has no meaning or beauty. In reality, it is brimming with beauty and meaning. My job gives me the opportunity to bless people in the community whose path I would not naturally come across. I meet people from every walk of life, from many different backgrounds and cultures. I get to show them in tangible ways how important they are, that they are worth caring for.  When I come home, I get to spend quality time with my husband, whom I love more and more every day. We’ve had more and deeper heart-to-heart conversations in our few months here than we did in our first year of marriage, simply because we have the time.

This season of life has been difficult, but it is not devoid of beauty. The Lord has been reminding me of this verse in Psalm 139: “Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” In spite of the darkness of unfamiliarity and culture shock, God sees only light. Without light, beauty is invisible. Where is the beauty in your life that has been clouded by darkness? 

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