***Originally Posted 2/5/15***
To kick off the theme of the month- beauty, I want to talk about how things that are beautiful are not always pretty. How I Learned to Drive opens tonight and if I haven’t beaten it into this blog enough in the last month, here it goes again: it is a staggeringly beautiful play. There are incredible depictions of the human condition along with a good dose of laughter, wit, and love. That being said, it is a hard play. If you are looking for flashing lights and an airy frothy golden age of musicals happy ending
– you aren’t going to find that pretty stuff. But the beauty is worth it.
Childbirth was a beautiful experience, but everyone in that room can assure you it wasn’t pretty.
Grace is a beautiful experience, but you can find yourself in some pretty ugly situations when you experience it.
Beauty can be messy. I find a ridiculous amount of beauty and joy in watching my son learn new things, but it can be a bit chaotic. See, he hasn’t quite mastered his fine motor skills and watching him learn- often during meal time- can make a huge mess…
Some days, I miss the beauty hidden in the disaster. A brand new person learning these huge lifelong skills. I see food wasted and a new mess to clean and my day slipping away. Other days, I’m lucky enough to have what I like to call an “Our Town” moment and slow down and see what’s in front of me. What’s an Our Town moment you ask? Well… Our Town happens to be one of my favorite plays.
You may have had to read it in high school. You may have had it ruined by someone teaching it poorly in high school (just like Shakespeare!). I’m here to say that regardless of how you feel about the play, or if you’ve even heard of it, the message behind it is important. The first act of Our Town seems pretty boring. It’s just daily life. The mundane, monotonous routines of everyday people.
The second act has more of a narrative structure of a love story. And then the third act turns everything on it’s head when you get to go back and realize that maybe that first act wasn’t as boring as you thought. Maybe food and coffee and sleeping and waking up are beautiful, brilliant parts of life. I won’t go into too much detail, but I will give you this quote:
EMILY: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?
STAGE MANAGER: No… Saints and Poets maybe… they do some.
I have tried to live by the phrases “every, every minute” and “saints and poets” ever since I read the play, and even more after I was in it in college, and even more after assistant directing it in grad school.
As I’ve continued in my spiritual life, I’ve found that the phrases to me some up the Jesuit (yup, the Jesuits again, the mentality just works for me!) idea of finding God in all things.
As I said before, I fail at remembering how wonderful life is… often. I get tricked into forgetting because it is often not easy or pretty, (even if most of my problems are first world problems)… but it is beautiful.
I’m off to enjoy a beautiful day with my husband, since it’s his day off, and our baby who is always happiest when we are both home. So far the day has included the beautiful mess of trying to drink coffee while holding a squirmy baby, watching my son destroy the order we try to create in his room in ten seconds flat, and making homemade meals and baby food which leaves our kitchen a mess.
Tonight we get to enjoy the beauty of opening night- and a date night to boot!
I’d love the hear about the every day wonder and beauty in your lives.