When life lays in ruins there are a good many ways to respond, some helpful, many harmful. Our values emerge when we choose one action over another, especially in times of significant stress. Why we do what we do may make no sense to anyone else, but these actions are rooted in who we are.
Beauty is a value I hold deeply. Aesthetically pleasing surroundings make me feel safe and confident. Nature’s beauty is life giving and emotionally soothing. Glimpses of beautiful souls opens up joy and hope.
This week there has been little I can do about the smoldering ashes of my life. What’s done is done. Something new will eventually emerge, but I don’t know when I’ll see the beauty of that new life emerge.
In the meantime, I got a much-needed haircut, which led to a free mini makeover afterwards. I haven’t looked so good as I did after careful tending by a talented hair and makeup artist. No one would guess that I was homeless, or that I was without resources most of us take for granted.
Upon reflection, I came to see this experience symbolically. It was a way of declaring that even in the midst of desolation a measure of beauty is possible, even if it’s in the form of a decent haircut or making the most of my appearance.
For some people, beauty can be added by clawing out space for a small plant, or adding a single flower in a vase next to where you sleep, or drinking water, coffee or tea from a pleasing glass or cup.
We can add beauty to our lives, no matter what our lives are like at any given moment.