The Determination of Beauty

Yesterday I had to get out of the house. The walls were closing in. Every time I thought about doing something normal, I remembered I couldn’t do it because we’re all sheltering in place. Every news source imaginable reminds us of how serious things are. Even our president struck a somber tone as he made death projections numbering in the six figures.

So, I had to get out. Jogging around the neighborhood, I saw this sidewalk-chalk drawing made by a girl. I started noticing such drawings everywhere as I ran a blistering 13 minute mile. It’s as if children, even during an unrelenting pandemic, just can’t help themselves. They see colors and shapes in a world that we easily sketch in shades of dark grey.

They have a determination of beauty. They want to make the world a happier, more colorful place, regardless. Sometimes it takes the darkness of a pandemic to help us see the insurmountable strength of that desire to make the world more beautiful. It’s something knit into the human soul.

I bet that as you read this, you might recall something someone’s done that’s made this world a warmer, more hospitable home during this time. They can’t help themselves. Healthcare workers, grocery clerks, teachers, church and community volunteers, your next door neighbor: they all create some beautiful sidewalk art.

I also bet that you’ve already done, or are thinking of doing, some chalk-art yourself. How can you experiment with the different colors? One of the things I’ve done is make an appointment to give blood (that might not sound like much, but I’m a needle-coward and blood makes me squeamish, and I passed out once at a blood drive, with great embarrassment). Another is to drop an email or make a call to folks, just to connect for a minute or two.

Jesus was definitely onto something when he said, referring to children, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Such a kingdom is the place of beauty, and children have that beauty in their souls.

We all do.

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