Quick and random thoughts on beauty

Salaam-aleikhum. So I’m writing this from Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian/Argentine/Paraguayan border. It’s a little known fact that this tri-border region has one of the larger Arab communities in South America.

Anyway, that’s relevant becuase I just had a wonderful dinner at an excellent Lebanese restaurant. As I sat at the table finishing my Turkish coffee, watching the family across from me laughing over a nargilah, I realized what had been nagging me ever since I arrived in the Iguaçu region early yesterday morning…

This part of my vacation has been wonderful – the falls so far (I’ve only been on the Argentine side as of yet) have been stunning. I’ve struggled to find words to express the beauty and awesomeness (in the old English sense of the word) of them. The phrase that continues to pop forward in my mind is “breathless wonder”. I was walking around yesterday wiggling like a puppy, unable to hold still the wonderment was so intense. I wanted to worship.

And yet there has been a tinge of melancholy as well – I put my finger on it tonight. Beauty longs to be shared. When I see something wonderful, amazing, hilarious, or something that simply has a deep and rich goodness about it, my first instinct is to share it with someone I love. Little children do this all the time.

“Look at this mommy!” cries the little girl, coming inside with the latest treasure she dug out of the rancid creek in the back yard… “Look what I found!” The joy is palpable, and so is the desire to share in the beauty.

And that is the saddest thing about being here alone – for while I am surrounded by many other people, no one I know, no one I can run up to and cry out with all my heart, “Look at this!!!”

Tonight in the Lebanese restaurant there was this cute Brazilian-Arab girl sitting with her family at the table across from me. “She would be fun to share this beauty with,” I thought to myself… but that is only my fantasy of her – giving her the personality and character I desire simply based on her laugh and her smile and the few times we made eye contact… But I don’t want that fantasy…

What I want is to share this beauty I am seeing – not only yesterday and tomorrow at the Iguaçu falls, but in the months and years to come… The beauty of our God, hidden among the poor – the beauty of the creator of all beauty hiding himself in a smelly, dirty, high street kid. I want to share this with you, because if I keep it to myself, we will both be the poorer for it.

Aleikhum-salaam…

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4 Comments

Filed under beauty

4 responses to “Quick and random thoughts on beauty

  1. mindy

    ben, you should write a book. i hope things are well with ya.

  2. Chris

    Wow, that’s very true. If I am alone somewhere beautiful I want to take a picture and show someone. But it’s never the same and that too is sad.

    John Mayer wrote a song about it called 3×5.

  3. Becca

    My dear, dear friend…thank you for sharing the beauty with us — not just the beauty of the falls and the kids and life in general — but the beauty of yourself and a life full of “wonderment.”

  4. lizzie konkler

    ben, i am backreading your journal entries as it has honestly been a while since i’ve been here. i am thinking of you today in lapa or wherever grieving and hoping all at once, but i am glad to think of you back here in this place of absolute beauty, you jumping around in excitement wanting to share God’s creation with someone. may he hold you fast…

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