Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Ponderings on our need for Beauty

Autumn color a few years ago...

It wasn't too long ago that I was sorting through some of my favorite dishes when the thought came to me that I'd never use all of them again.  Long past were the days of hospitality to crowds of people, much less a sit down candlelit dinner for more than a few close family and friends.

However, I have sent quite a lot to charity and I don't feel the need to rid my home of more items that may be considered unnecessary.  But that idea got me thinking... where is it written that one has to show hospitality in equal measure to the number of dishes one has collected through the years?

Can't we have things in our home just because they are beautiful and bring joy?

We were created to love Beauty and when that desire is tarnished by sin, then it can be the source behind feelings and actions that are far from what God intended.  At the least we may covet what another has, not being satisfied at what God has given.  The prisons are full of those who have given in to that desire to own what belongs to another.

However, when that desire is met in such a way which brings honor to God... then our quest for Beauty is what He intended in the first place.  For Beauty... that which is lovely in all areas of life... brings Light into the darkness and a little of Heaven on Earth.  Little glimpses here and there of the Paradise to come.  Perhaps even... a little of Eden into a fallen world.

The flowers on my deck are in various stages of dying, there only because the birds come now and then to perch from them... and a week of rain wasn't conducive to sending them to the compost or the forest.  Just this morning, I saw a hummingbird stopping to check out the basil which had gone to flower. 

There may be few blossoms outside but they are still vivid on plates and teacups and pretty teapots waiting to be chosen to use today.  Why must we think we have to have company to use our teapots and teacups and pretty dishes?  I think honestly, while I love to host tea parties (especially with the girls of my family)... sometimes I need them most when I am alone.

Perhaps I think also that as I get older, I'm making my own personal statement that something stops being useful if it isn't doing something all the time.  An item can be useful just because it exists.  I have spent years putting together things I love (which I already owned or found at thrift stores or was given) to make the Study a room which always causes me to stop and smile when I walk through the door.

What brings joy to you is not necessarily the what I love but what is important is to realize that you have a God given need for Beauty that brings you joy and peace.  I have some teddy bears mixed in amongst the Americana decorations in the Family Room and Study because I like them... even though they cause some family members to roll their eyes. 

There are a few various pieces of Art on the wall above my desk, made by dear friends and family and when I see them, they bring joy.  I am surrounded by books and I doubt I'll ever read all of them but knowing they are there and available is much like having a good friend living next door to chat with when I need to get away from it all.  Old friends.  Book friends.  Beauty.

As I write, I am listening to the Blood Oranges in the Snow album, downloaded on advice from a friend I've never met but feel as if she is a daughter.  Often when I listen to it, I think of it and how the words helped her after the death of her father and now they bring Beauty to my world. 

It seems... especially those of us who are made family by the indwelling Holy Spirit... are brought closer together by our shared love of Beauty.  Books.  Music.  Art.  Gardens. Oceans.  Lakes.  Rivers.  Forests. Candles lit when the darkness arrives earlier each evening. The cooking and sharing of good food.

Some of what we find lovely can be very personal.  A number of years ago, my neighbors borrowed the truck in the photo above and I had to take a photo of it the day it was parked with the full colors of the October forest as a background.  Just an old, well used truck that I found a thing of Beauty.  I love old trucks.  They tell a story of endurance.

So what am I trying to say?  Well, this is rambling all over the place but to bring the ponderings to an end, it is this... never think it anything other than normal that you need Beauty.  You need it because you were created for Beauty.  Until that day when all is made new... think of some little ways here and there you can bring Beauty to your days.

Some of the little ways I add Beauty to my everyday existence at the moment?  Hmmmm... Mrs. Meyers dishwashing soap scents, a lovely mug for my morning coffee given to me by my Master Gardener friend, Paris tea in the afternoon, an Autumn scented candle on my desk,  my Susan Branch calendar, various plants brought in from the front porch, and I have to add the very lovely Maine Coon snoozing as I write.

Yesterday I was having a bad day but I was able to come into the Study, open up the Bible, get lost in the Psalms, and find peace.  For all Beauty begins and ends with the Creator.  I find in my own life that if I am dissatisfied with my surroundings for no reason... I'm probably not spending enough time with the source of Beauty.  You'd think after all these years, I'd know better.  Sigh.


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Candles, tea in my cup, a good book, good music, my family spending time together, autumn sunshine, and the changing leaves, all bring delight by the beauty they bring to my heart!

I have heard some of this album, and I like it.

We are made to respond to beauty, and I think sometimes we are so used to the ugliness of the world that we forget about true beauty and the source of it. I want to spread his beauty and share the eyes to see it too.

I adore old trucks, but red ones?! LOVE!

Vee said...

Must say that I have been feeling that I do not deserve the pretty little things I have enjoyed through the years. My daughter is a minimalist and others in my life are at a time in their lives when they are feeling either the need or the condemnation to downsize to make things easier for those who will be cleaning up after them. Now perhaps all this is just slewfoot's way to make us feel miserable. So I needed the reminder that I was created for beauty. Wonderful photo of that red truck with the golden leaves in the background.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post! And so very true. I especially like your question of why not use the pretty teapot and teacup just for ourselves? I have a collection of both that I may never use, but just because I like them! So, instead of just decorating with them, I need to use them! I also have a need to be out in nature. And Autumn is so full of beauty, too! Love your photo of the old truck with the Fall leaves on the trees behind it! So thrilled for you that you got a computer all your own to use! I always enjoy your thoughts and photos, and good advice! Thanks for sharing.
Laura C.(WA)

Katie said...

Hi Brenda,
I read often and comment seldom, but this evening, I just wanted to comment on a fragment of this post ...
You've mentioned here (and in previous posts, I believe) that you don't show hospitality the way you used to, but I'd like to tell you that I feel you show abundant hospitality to me (and to all your other readers) through your blog! It's true that I don't step across your threshold and taste and smell and touch, but I can see your lovely home through your photos, and I can "hear" through your printed words, and you make it so very welcoming!
So, let me say "thank you" for the warm welcome and encouraging "visits," ... and tell you that I enjoy your dishes, too, even if I'm only seeing them in pictures! :)
In Christ,

Anonymous said...

I love the old red truck and the beautiful scenery with it. Love fall and the colors and "feel" of fall in the air. Thanks for your thoughts on our need for beauty and that it is a legitimate need. I think our Father is glad when we delight in the beautiful things He has made for us to enjoy. Blessings, Sharon D.

em said...

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris said...

Yes, this says it all! And I agree with what reader Katie said, thank you for this wonderful thought. We read Blogs to see the beauty that other people make in their lives so that we can incorporate it somehow/someway into our own lives.
Thank you for "inviting" us into your home. said...

OOps, should also have mentioned that I don't have my own Blog, but I do have an Instagram account where I try to capture the Beauty in my own life to pass on to my friends.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, if I had to take ten people (outside close family) with me to be marooned on a desert island you would be one of the ten! With your permission of course ;)

Peggy said...

It looked like I spent all day fall cleaning today, but actually I was playing house, and having a wonderful time. Thank you for the inspiration to play through working on my home.