My daughter is sitting with me munching Fruit Loops and watching every moment of Balanchine’s Nutcracker, which we happen to own on VHS. This is her second go-round; last night she watched it with her two brothers, who also didn’t miss a step.
And I wonder: what is it about beauty that calls to our hearts?
My mind has returned to this question many times since we began re-doing the girls rooms last week. Their beige boxes are turning into pink palaces. I am the master of this change, swiping on paint strokes. The change satisfies me.
I understand how they desire their rooms to look, well, perfectly perfect. There is something deeply pleasing about looking on beauty and living in beauty, even for the two rough-hewn boys with the stubby buzz cuts who sit with eyes unwavering as ballet dancing lights up the screen.
Plato described the scenario of sitting in a cave with a fire and watching the shadows as unseen shapes pass before the flames. The flimsy, flickering images are all we are granted to see: poor reflections of the true form, of true beauty. We crave a glimpse of the source, the origin of shapes, but alas, we are left on this earth with reflections alone, dark shadows on the wall that make the desire to know all the more powerful.
The Master’s hand is ever-present. His beauty is in the details, both obvious and hidden: the buttery pink paint rolling on the wall, the warmth of a golden frame in late-afternoon sunlight, the stately elegance of an old bedpost, the rich purple of succulents touching cool green glass.
I feel the blessing in these small details of life; the shadows of true beauty designed by the Creator himself.
A flicker and the heavenly aesthetic is cast.
One day we will see the original Forms, the inaugural Beauty, the heavenly Splendor, the Source. Until then, I lean in a little when the ballerina swirls with grace; I savor the small yellow butterfly in his own wavering wind dance. I quietly peek into a delicate pink cocoon bathed in pale nightlight where a treasured little one breathes softly and sleeps, and know that this moment of beauty was skillfully wrought for me in the very flame of His eternal love.