Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beauty that Astounds

Snowflake Melts on a Branch
I learn something astounding about snowflakes today:  the more hostile the environment, the more intricate the snowflake's shape.  The bitter cold and wind encourage sharp tips and branching designs while warmer temperatures produce slow-growing, smooth, and simple patterns.

I'd rather have complex, sophisticated, and beautiful.  I'd rather have unexpected and perplexing than smooth and simple.  

I stand in my backyard as the storm swirls about me.  I think of what it takes to make such beauty.

Snowflake on a Thorn
It's not easy; it's not warm and smooth.  What's harsh in our environment right now shapes beautiful things in us.  That kind of beauty--born from trial and thorn--truly astounds.

I included a new feature at Live with Flair!  You can journal along with me on your own (and share your wisdom in the comments if you wish) every day.  I'll include a reflection question that I'm thinking about along with each post.  

Journal Question:  Is it really true that sorrow or hardship "shapes beautiful things in us?" 


Lindsey said...

I love this! It reminds me of a passage from Donald Miller's "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" - I didnt' realize that the harsher environment made the more complex snowflake, but what a wonderful metaphor.

"Last year, I read a book about a man named Wilson Bentley, who coined the phrase "No two snowflakes are alike." He is the one who discovered the actual reality that no two snowflakes are geometrically the same. Bentley was a New England farmer who fell in love with the beauty and individuality of snowflakes.... What amazed Bentley was the realization that each snowflake bore the scars of its journey. He discovered that each crystal is affected by the temperature of the sky, the altitude of the cloud from which it fell, the trajectory the wind took as it fell to earth, and a thousand other factors."

Jeedoo said...

You are quite a photographer!

jenny_o said...

I believe that sorrow and hardship can indeed shape beautiful things in us: empathy, compassion, understanding, gratitude.

I believe that sorrow and hardship can also warp and scar people.

And whether the outcome is beauty or ugliness seems to depend on something deep inside the individual - not the presence or absence of caring, but the presence or absence of awareness: the knowledge that one may endure hurt but not be embittered by it.

If we have this awareness, we may ourselves suffer, but we can choose not to make others suffer. We can even choose to help relieve the suffering of others. THAT would be a beautiful thing.

E.M.B. said...

I believe that sorrow and hardship can shape beautiful things in us.
But it can also shape bad things in us. Sorrow can be something that creates a scar in your heart.
Hardship can be a tough time for other people. But if someone reaches out to you in a hardship, that can be good.
I LOVE your photography! It looks like a great artist's painting.

LivewithFlair said...

How beautiful that each snowflake "bears the scars of its journey." Thank you for that Lindsey! I know what others are saying about the scars on a heart. These can turn into bitterness so easily. I have to believe in the goodness of God and that "all things can work together for good" when I trust. Thank you all!

Unlocking Infinity said...

I know from personal experience that sorrow and hardship can leave a person broken or can shape beautiful things in us. By forcing us to acknowledge things about ourselves and overcome obstacles, they can help us move forward with our lives. They can help us realize who we really are and see our own beauty and strength. They may change us forever, but in the end we can emerge as beautiful snowflakes or the way the world looks after a thunderstorm, bright and new.