I just took a walk through our neighborhood with my dog, Stella.
The sun is shining in a blue sky. The birds are singing. The crusty, dirt-tinged mounds of snow and ice are gradually melting, revealing trash and brown grass and the once-hidden sidewalks.
I listened to a podcast of an interview of an Irish poet named John O'Donohue and something I heard struck me:
"Beauty," he said, "is that which, when we encounter it, leaves us feeling more alive."
What a thoughtful, lovely definition. What a stark contrast to most definitions of beauty which too often feel shallow and unobtainable and reserved for those who can pay.
As I walked, I asked myself, "What makes you feel alive, Alice?"
The answers were easy: The spring sun on my face. The cool wind in my hair. My old, faithful dog trotting happily next to me. My mom's kind, aging face. My friends' compassion. The pile of books on my chair.
I made a small resolution to seek beauty at every turn, realizing God gifts beauty to us to bring life to our souls. It can be found anywhere. It is never reserved solely for the well-off.
The apostle Paul knew this. He writes to the church at Philippi:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
If you can, get outside sometime this week. It will make you feel more alive. Spring is making its grand entrance. Beauty is everywhere for those who have eyes to see.