3. The Principle of Beauty

I have a friend who collects antique machinist and carpenter’s tools. There’s something beautiful about those old things, not so much in their appearance but in their underlying design and purpose. A few of the tools were owned and used by his grandfather, and I imagine that for my friend they symbolize relationship and heritage. I’m sure they bring back memories of his grandfather. But for the average person it wouldn’t be uncommon to overlook the simple beauty of those old tools.


Now, imagine for a minute that you are holding in your hand a carpenter’s mallet, one that is thought to have belonged to Jesus Christ. What sort of transformational value would that have? Think of the beauty that you might witness in such a thing. And then, imagine further that this was the mallet used by Jesus to nail together the cross of his own crucifixion. Just the thought of such an experience brings tears to the eyes of the believer.


Many times you will find transforming energy wrapped in the beauty of ordinary things. And life changes for a while when you apprehend such beauty. At times like these it seems that life confirms its purpose, and you feel at home in a big universe. It is our deep desire, I believe, to constantly witness beauty and to know the meaning hidden behind the ordinary things of life.


Day 3 Guide:


Today, choose something ordinary out of your experience and seek its beauty. It could be a thing, a happening or even a person – something or someone that you would otherwise overlook. Seek in it some aspect of design or behavior that stands out. But realize, too, that the beauty you discover may be found not in the subject itself but in the further thoughts that result from your effort. 


The key is to discover beauty in the ordinary things of life.


© 2004, Levi Hill

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