We are a coastal community with 24 miles of coastline in our county of 2 million.
We are called the Venice of America for all of our canals and waterways and we are the yachting capital of the world.
We boast an exotic look with palm trees lining our streets and highways, pelicans on the piers and wild parrots noisily flying overhead.
Where is the ordinary in this beauty?
The locals are the ones rarely going to the beach, fussing about the mess the neighborhood ducks make and barely noticing the 8 foot alligators on the golf courses.
The beauty we see everyday becomes familiar and barely noticeable.
We’ve stood on the coast of La Jolla and soaked in their ordinary beauty of seals sunning on the rocks and the ragged edges of their coastline. We’ve hiked the rim of the Grand Canyon looking across the vast valley below with all it’s color painting the layers of earth. We’ve been on top of Pike’s Peak feeling as if we were on top of the world looking at violet mountain tops and a crisp blue sky. We’ve been in the darkness of caverns, the damp wrapping around us, the sound of drips our soundtrack. Each a marvel of beauty, exceptional to our unfamiliar eyes, part of the daily scenery to the locals.
A friend and I have been talking about submitting articles to websites for possible publication. We’ve voiced our doubts about our ability, will rejection prove we aren’t writers of any quality?
Will a “thank you, but not at this time…” confirm we’re no Ann or Sarah or Emily? Their words tumble out with ease, don’t they?
We prepare ourselves for rejection so as not be let down. We tell each other it’s not personal, it doesn’t mean we aren’t writers and we mean it. For the other.
Where is the truth in saying our beaches are more beautiful than the Rocky Mountains?
Where is the truth in comparing our gifts and talents to others?
“Body and soul, I am marvelously made!…
…how I was sculpted from nothing into something.” excerpt from Psalm 139
I embrace these words, needing them to remind me of my magnificence in God’s eyes all the while I wrestle with other words that always seem to trump the ones meant to lift up.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 NLT
These words from Philippians are ingrained in my psyche. These are the words that have been emphasized and have become my default mindset. These are the words that keep me from laying claim to words like writer, artist, teacher, that keep me from accepting that I can be part of the beauty.
Maybe you too.
Somewhere, we do believe because we don’t stop. We don’t stop writing and painting and reading and giving. We don’t stop believing that we are created in the very image of God.
This has been a chorus sung in our church for years. May it be a prayer sung in our hearts.
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O my Savior divine, All my being refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”
Albert Orsborne, Salvation Army songbook