More on the Necessity of Beauty

We are blessed when we create.

We are blessed when we create.

The road seems to narrow and rise up toward the sky. And there an orange-tinted moon waits, surrounded by tiny lights. As I walk along, I have a sense of being lifted up toward that sky. It is as if the body is lightened by the presence of beauty.

Real beauty, (not the sexualized images that are currently foisted on us), is not a fluff item. Historically, we have always felt the necessity for being surrounded by beauty. But why? When people are starving and there are so many worries, why think of beauty? Why do we need art?

I checked on some who have written about this. This is what I found:

  • Beauty has something to do with happiness. “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy,” wrote Anne Frank, who looked for it in small things before dying at Auschwitz.
  • Children have a greater appreciation for beauty maybe because they are really looking! “Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old,”wrote the Jewish author Franz Kafka who died in 1924.
  • Sometimes it takes effort to see beauty. “The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely,” wrote Louisa May Alcott, who grew up in poverty like her characters in Little Women.
  • There is a mystery which surrounds beauty. It is not of this world. “Do I love you because you’re beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?” This is a song lyric written by Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
  • A famous poet named Rilke speaks of the importance of being involved in creative ways. Then we experience beauty. “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
  • “Beauty awakens the soul to act.”These words were written long ago by Dante Alighieri who wrote The Divine Comedy. He died in 1321.

 

Beauty purifies, inspires, releases, lifts up.  Surround yourself with art that is not simply decorative but is inspiring.  Then you will feel the wonder of life!

copyright Judith Costello 2015

The Real Truth about Real Fun

By Judith Costello, Unwind Studio

Against the Sky

Against the Sky

Katende Andrew is a seminarian from Uganda who is starting a foundation to help impoverished and neglected children get an education. He’s the “St. Don Bosco” for poor children in his country!  Don Bosco gathered up orphan children off the streets of Italy (1818-1888). He found a way to help them learn and flourish without being a harsh task master. Instead, he made his students laugh even in difficult circumstances and in spite of the meager offerings he could provide for them. They learned to have great fun together.

That “Don Bosco style” is needed for our young people, not only in Uganda, but around the world today! The saint once said, “Enjoy yourselves as much as you like, if only you keep away from sin.” But in today’s world fun seems to equal sin among young people. When Katende posted this quote on Facebook, a young person wrote, “How can you enjoy yourself as much as possible without sinning? Let me say when it comes to lots of food, partying and you can mention the rest (of the things that are ‘fun’)?”

From children in high school to young people in college, the reports of sin/fun are increasingly exponentially to include drinking to “get smashed”, various new drugs, anonymous sex, serial partners and experimentation of many kinds.

Somehow we need to wake people up: This is not fun!!  Such things lead to illness, STDs, severe depression, abortion, and hopelessness. That equates to death and destruction not fun and happiness.

The refreshing beauty of how Don Bosco lived and taught is that he knew what real happiness is all about. There is truth that can be known and the truth is: real happiness and enjoyment only comes from being physically, mentally and spiritually challenged, AND from relating to others in more than a superficial, “selfie/text me” way.

Young people need to learn this. And they need to know that if they’ve been confused and already made really bad choices, they can start now to turn that around. Make better choices. Find out what is real. God is waiting to offer help!

So here’s a short list of Real Fun Things. Let’s keep adding and adding. I’d like to paper a wall with the truth about fun!! How long can the list be?

Play soccer, football, basketball, baseball. The physical body needs a workout!

Read a classic novel. (Avoid the modern, or at least the trashy modern stuff.)

Visit a Church and spend over 20 minutes in prayer! Really once you start the time will fly.

Sit at a coffee shop and talk through the night. Solve the world’s problems. Come up with an end to poverty. Come up with a solution to cancer or homelessness.

Do an art project! Find a photo from your life. Study it. Then paint it!

Do an art project with friends. Bring out a piece of canvas, markers and paint. Ask everyone to add something. Let the laughter begin.

Tell jokes.

Play charades.

Go for a drive just to look at the sky. Find beauty everywhere.

Put your head on a friend’s belly. When they laugh, you’ll laugh!

Watch children. Do what they do.

Watch animals. Do what they do. (Hint: they sleep a lot. But when they’re awake, they are very aware of everything.)

Dress up in fun clothes. Create new clothes. Don’t be afraid….cut that old tee-shirt.

Watch the stars. Count them.

Go to bed alone…enjoy the feel of the sheets. Say prayers of gratitude.

Dance the night away…(just avoid the hyper-sexualized modern dancing.) Try Jewish folk dance or polka or Two-Step.

Play a kazoo!

Enjoy music. Go to a special concert (where the artists don’t cuss.)

Go somewhere new. Smile at everyone. Strike up conversation with strangers.

 

Have fun. Avoid sin. Find beauty.  Yes…That all goes together.

Now add to the list.

They say that before he died Don Bosco said, Tell the boys I’ll see them all in Paradise.” He was raising saints for the wonders of eternity.

The site by Katende Andrew is http://www.donboscochildrenuganda.org.