The One Thing of Beauty in Each Day

“You cannot control the world outside, but you can choose what you will bring into yourself. If you do not see anything of value in your life, begin by finding one thing of beauty every day until it becomes a habit”. – Ron Rathbun

I love taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets. It’s a fascination my husband doesn’t quite understand.

As I sat on the beach the other day watching the sunrise, taking pictures, and listening to Dvořák’s New World Symphony, I acknowledged once again that I am looking for the one thing of beauty in each day.

It’s not that I don’t “see anything of value” in my life, but I think it helps me to purposefully look for that thing of beauty that encourages my heart. It could come from a multitude of things – a child’s smile, a good book, a poem, music. A beautiful sunrise.

It does not escape me that the most beautiful sunrises are when there are clouds.

I hate pat cliches, by the way. I don’t think they do a lot of good. As a bereaved parent, I found that it was easier for someone to quote a Scripture or cliche to me (or maybe “at” me) than to actually be there for me. I’m not trying to pass on an inspirational cliche that’s supposed to inspire others. It’s just a personal reflection of where I am and what I’m trying to do – look for the beauty in each new day.

I specifically remember the day, months after Jason died, I noticed how beautiful the flowers were that were blooming at the college. It amazed me at the time that I could actually notice and appreciate their beauty in spite of how deeply grieved I felt at Jason’s death. Especially since my state at the time was one more accurately expressed by W H Auden’s poem, “Funeral Blues”:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I remember planting a huge variety of daffodils and crocuses at the crash site in the fall of 2002 because I wanted them to bloom the next spring. I planted yellow daffodils for Jason because he was my Mr. Sunshine. I planted purple crocuses for Alina because it was her favorite color. I wanted them to symbolize beauty growing from such ugly despair.

I will be the first to admit that it has not been an easy thing to do since Jason died, this looking for beauty in each day. But I am determined to keep on looking.

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9 thoughts on “The One Thing of Beauty in Each Day

  1. People have asked me why I love photography so much, and why I take pictures of the things I do. It is to find that spot of beauty in the midst of ugliness. In the midst of a patch of weeds may be the most beautiful perfect little flowers hidden away. I zoom on in to capture that moment. For it is that beauty on which I wish to focus. Let someone else chronicle the trash heaps, the spills and destruction of man. As for me, I wish to capture where beauty shines through. Not to pretend the ugliness isn’t there, but to focus on the good and not the bad, to find that moment of beauty, that spot of sunlight bouncing off the water, the langourous bumble-bee gathering the last pollen before the winter winds begin to blow…ah, yes.

  2. Rebecca, Thank you for liking my post “An Evening Tide.” I am deeply sorry for the loss of Jason and Alina. The loss of a child is unimaginable. I understand what you mean about people not being there and wanting to pull away and withdraw. You probably picked up on some of that in my post as well. But Mom was nearly 102. She lived a long full life. It was “her time.” It was hard hard work being her caretaker and I was “ready.” I had been in anticipated grief for nearly two decades. I told people I would be relieved. But when she died one morning alone in her apartment preparing for her noon meal, I completely shocked. Although our relationship was fraught with drama, mom loved me unconditionally. I was there for her, but she was there for me, even to the end. Her death has undermined my confidence. But in it and through it, I learn and grow. Each day I look, as you do, for what gives life, for what is beautiful. Blessings to you Rebecca. I will follow your writings.

  3. Pingback: Beauty | Grief: One Woman's Perspective

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