December 3, 2008

Beneath the Surface

The rock on which these crystals formed is long and rounded. And at first it didn't look at all like a rock to me, which is why I picked it up. Being such a long, stick-like formation, I thought it might have a story to tell . . . maybe a shell fossil would be on it. It had just rained the night before I found it, so the ground was muddy, as was the rock, but I picked it up anyway. When I got home, I cleaned it with soap and a toothbrush, and I was so surprised to find a shell fossil with crystals growing inside of it attached to the rock . . . a mini geode! I could have easily passed this rock up in the woods, because it really didn't stand out, except for it's long shape. But something made me do a double-take to see what might be hidden. And it surely was better than I had expected. I would have been impressed with just the shell fossil!

All this to say that I'm using this experience as a reminder to always look beneath the surface. To look at my friends, enemies, or even a stranger and notice the beautiful value each one holds just under the surface (where the soul is). By reminding myself of someone's inner beauty and value, I am then able to look past their face (whether pretty or plain), to look past their accomplishments (few or many), to look past their situation (have they made good or bad choices?), and just see another soul loved by God. My judgments only cloud the true essence of what someone is. There is something valuable in each one of us. And by seeking to find the light and beauty in another, we offer a wonder of good to ourselves and the world. Whenever inner beauty is uncovered and celebrated, people evolve, they grow into more of what they were created to become.

"Whenever we awaken beauty, we are helping to make God present in the world."
Beauty, John O'Donohue
"Where beauty seems absent, she is often hidden and still at work in the slow industry of transformation. So much of beauty is not immediately apparent and indeed it could take a long time before it becomes visible. It often takes a lot of struggle and committed attention and generosity, even sacrifice, in order to create beauty."
Beauty, John O'Donohue