Noticing Beauty-Even on a Monday (or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

Mondays in the Clarkson home usually find all of us trying to recover and adjust from the weekend—those glorious hours of sleeping late, enjoying endless cups of tea and hot chocolate, talking together over casual, long-drawn-out meals, reading magazines or books, watching favorite movies, playing rowdily in the yard with friends, and riding bikes or exploring. We return reluctantly to the realm of responsibility in which all the messes of Saturdays and Sundays must be dealt with and the duties of Monday through Friday attended to with full force.

This particular Monday was no exception. Orphan cups and mugs, discarded baskets of popcorn, and untold numbers of socks had to be picked up from the various places they had been dropped. Individual breakfasts were hurriedly prepared and wolfed down. Laundry baskets were ransacked for presentable shirts. Backpacks were loaded with assignments and pencils, and each person hurried off to his or her own place of work. Sarah, the most experienced of our teen drivers, was recruited to take thetwo youngest to some Monday morning classes. When she came home, she hurried to her desk and tried to get started on her own work. But even with the younger children gone, the interruptions didn't stop. Sarah was really getting frustrated.

After graduating from high school, she had decided to delay college for a year or two. She had already published one book, and she wanted to see if she could get another one under her belt before plunging into the rigors of higher education. But this meant she was home, and being the eldest child in a large family almost inevitably means getting caught up in family responsibilities and duties. Our move added to the amount of work to be done, because our regular support systems were not yet in place. So Sarah had done more than her share of helping with laundry, dishes, cooking, reading to the younger kids, and answering the phone. Usually she did it with good cheer, but I was aware of her frustration. And Mondays, especially, seemed to do her in.

"Mom, what I really need is a patron," Sarah sighed in frustration when she came to the kitchen for a drink of water. "I need someone who will pay me to live somewhere very private and beautiful so that I won't have to spend so much time on daily, routine tasks! Then I could just sit around thinking great thoughts that would turn into great books!"

"Oh, honey, if you just knew how many times I've had those thoughts!" was my sympathetic reply. "But what I really want is a full-time maid!"

And so went the day, with more chores, more interruptions, more responsibilities, more frustrations. Then about five o'clock on that crisp autumn afternoon, just as I was finishing an e-mail on my computer and getting ready to start dinner, I looked out my window and caught my breath.

Sarah, quick!" I called out as I ran to the front door to grab my jacket. "Come look!"

She dropped what she was doing and got her jacket too. Together we hurried down the street toward the cow field that backed up to our property. We quickly scaled the fence and ran out into the field.

Before us was one of the most beautiful sights I ever remember seeing. The entire skyline was lit as though on fire. Crimsons and corals and pinks painted the sky in brilliant, spectacular hues. The range of tall trees in the line of the setting sun seemed to flame and sparkle in the shifting light. A cold, soft breeze blew gently on our faces and in our hair to remind us it wasn't a real fire we were watching but the result of God's masterful artistry.

We stood in silence for a few minutes, taking in the splendid sight that surrounded us. Everything in sight seemed to dance with fiery colors—the skies and trees, the horizon and clouds above. Then slowly, slowly the colors began to fade. We stood there and marveled until we were standing together in darkness.

"Oh, Mama!" Sarah exclaimed, using her affectionate name for me. "That was spectacular! How could anyone see something like that and not believe in God?"

We walked home quietly, our souls filled with the warmth and grandeur one feels when she has seen the fingertips of God. More important, we were at peace—no longer caught up in the irritating, mundane world but soothed by that God-given reminder of the Lord's power and presence.

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun,Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat."  

~ Psalms 19:1-6

Have you taken time to enjoy the beauty God has painted all around you, lately?