The Healing Power of Beauty

The Power of Beauty

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

"The world will be saved by beauty." — Doestoevsky

Since I moved out West the majesty of snow-capped mountains, rushing white-water rivers, and the beauty of wild flowers and trees have rejuvenated my weary soul. Beauty has seemingly magical power to cleanse and illuminate the dark places in our hearts left by sorrow, grief, pain, and despair.

This past week I traveled along one of the most beautiful roads in our country (thus, the photos here!). I used to live here, during one of the most painful times of my life. To smell the air again, to tramp through the woods, to hear the rushing river… all that pristine beauty quickened my spirit and rejuvenated my soul. 

"Whenever we encounter the beautiful, our hearts awaken, stir, quicken, thrill because there is an extraordinary magic power in the least thing: a tiny plant burgeoning in spring, a shade of the sky at a given moment of the day, a calm, cold night brilliant with star shine – all things that ravish the heart. They're a small taste of Paradise Lost on an earth where so many things are torn and tearing. They are little oases in the vast wasteland of the world." — Brennan Manning, in "Souvenirs of Solitude"

A quote from St. Augustine's commentary on Psalm 148: "God is made manifest by the heavens and the earth."

The moment we think we understand something is the same moment we do not understand it. God wants to keep surprising us with fresh magical moments; otherwise, our faith would die – our love would grow cold – our joy would diminish.

The wonder of our world is that there is something new every day to cause our hearts to beat faster, to mirror to us what God looks like, to echo back to us the sounds, aroma, and sights of Heaven.

We were born to live in a state of awe and wonder. To be childlike is our entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Our eyes and ears behold a universe that was created for our pleasure. To truly enjoy His creation gives our Papa God joy. 

It was a precious moment when God revealed to me that He, like us, feels pain. He feels pain when His children hurt themselves and others, when we reject Him and defy His clear commands. He feels pain when we neglect noticing Him in our busy days and nights. He feels pain when we fail to appreciate His gifts. To enjoy each other, with Him, is one of the best ways we give Papa God pleasure.

The most incredible beauty is found in the ordinary people, places, and things in life.

Perhaps the most exquisite beauty, the most rapturous worship, is experienced when we choose to trust God with our pain. When we truly believe that "God causes all things to work together for good…" (Romans 8:28).

Dr. Robert Frost, in Our Heavenly Father, wrote:

There is nothing more precious to God than our praise during affliction. Not praise for what the devil has done, but praise for the redeeming power of our heavenly Father. What He does not protect us from, He will perfect us through…

It's the little things that matter most, perhaps because it's so easy to overlook the seemingly insignificant people and things that God has placed in our path to WOW us.

Beauty is the best antioxidant in the world. It detoxifies the poisons and kills the free radicals of living in this dark world. Beauty illimuninates our souls and refreshes our spirits. It mirrors back to us the glory of God in our own faces.

Seeking beauty is one way of seeking the Kingdom of God.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."Matthew 6:33

Perhaps much of the low-grade malaise and depression in our collective lives today stems from a low appreciation of the mystery of beauty.

One way to get your life back, to recover your soul, is to make time for soaking in God's presence… entering through the doorway of beauty… even if it's just 5-minutes a day, to begin with.

Writing Prompt: Take a little walk outdoors today. Bring a camera, a notebook, or a voice recorder. Watch for shadows, for certain colors, for a wisp of wind in a tree… be mindful of the least things and the ordinary people and places around you. Take note of what feelings arise as you smell, taste, see, touch, and listen to the world around you. Record the moment with a song, a drawing, a poem, or listen for God's voice, as I like to do. Allow yourself to tramp along like a child with her hand in her Papa God's and just let it flow…

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With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  

Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2016 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora Conway July 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

“You pull in your life and you see that though you felt ripped open —- the net actually didn’t tear.
Cora Conway recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

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Susan Schiller July 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Thanks, Cora, for reading and sharing here… that's a lovely, encouraging quote!

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Sue Glashower June 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I love spending quiet time outside enjoying the beauty of God's creation. We often so busy that we don't take the time to see God in even the small things. This is so true- The most incredible beauty is found in the ordinary people, places, and things in life.

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Susan Schiller June 15, 2013 at 9:36 pm

From your photos, Sue, I can so much beauty surrounding you and your family… what a lovely home you have made! I often admire you and your family… thanks so much for visiting her today!

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Pat Moon June 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I stand in awe of the beauty God surrounds us with. I am so blessed to live in the midst of His beauty. I had never thought about beauty being an antioxidant but it truly is. When we think about it God created all antioxidants to surround us and protect us. Thank you for sharing about God's beauty.

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Susan Schiller June 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Hi Pat… the best things of life are meant to be free, I believe. Why should only the rich enjoy the benefits of nature, in terms of health and wellness…. it’s something I’ve been pondering. I’m still asking God these questions…

I think of your background and lifestyle and I can only imagine how blessed you and your family are to live in a beautiful place, especially when you were farming!

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Jessica Stone June 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

I love the photos in this post – what a beautiful land and wonderful creation God has placed around us!  I'm so glad you are finding contentment and joy in the beauty around you.  You are so right that God wants to show us Himself in both the greatest and least things.  He does care, even about the small things in our lives.  Beautiful article!

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Susan Schiller June 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Thanks, Jessica… yes, the smallest details really do matter!

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marvia June 14, 2013 at 12:01 am

Susan

This makes me want to wonder the hills, mountains, and prairies of Wyoming and Montana – two states that seem to still have pristine beauty.  But really I love the reminder that I was made to belong, love, honor, and praise Him.  I love that we are God's delight and that His love is benevolent.  Perhaps that's why nature sometimes stops us in our tracks.  It forces our gaze and engages our hearts to ponder anew what God the Almighty, can do.  )

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Susan Schiller June 14, 2013 at 7:23 am

Beautifully spoken, Marvia – I agree! Thank you 🙂

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