I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty lately. This spring and summer I was tasked with finding an assisted living facility for my mother-in-law. It has proved to be an arduous journey fraught with near-hysteria, even with expert advice from A Place for Mom, which I cannot recommend more highly!
But I digress. I want to stick with beauty. Concentrating on beauty has helped me get through some really difficult moments. Beauty has been the balm to heal some really ugly images. Beauty is God’s grace. Beauty in this mortal world should not be taken lightly, it should be revered.
My mother, Vivian, died almost six years ago now, at the age of 91. She was a teacher, artist, and clothing designer. She had a great sense of style and aesthetic. She imparted those gifts to me, however, I cannot sew on a zipper to save my life! I did not inherit her sewing skills, that’s for sure, but I can admire them. And I can make curtains, quilts, and pillows – anything with a simple straight line.
My friend, Melissa, loves fashion too. Her blog, Turing Fashion Inside Out, details all her fashion adventures. She has a great sense of the aesthetic, and I love how she thinks about how she puts her wardrobe together. Honestly, I never thought about the creativity that goes into dressing oneself before I began talking with Melissa. Now, I revel in being aware of patterns and color, texture and form.
In between investigating assisted living places, rescuing my ninety-three-year old father from a rehab hospital where he was recovering from hip surgery, witnessing the gauntlet of gray figures in wheelchairs, I’ve been pursuing beauty in anyplace I can think of: stopping by the grocery store’s floral section a little longer, noticing the perfect rise of a white moon, and the cloud-pink sunset over the mountains. I remind myself that beauty is one of the things that keeps me alive. Without beauty there would be no hope, no hint of heaven.
Something Beautiful by Joanne L. Emery
I’ve been thinking of patterns lately,
A little geometry of flowers and delight:
The red dress my mother made me
When I was six,
The one with the yellow chicks
And the smooth, round buttons.
In the fabric store last month,
I caught a glimpse of a pattern:
A yellow dress with bright red buttons
And big patch pockets
On a skinny six-year-old
With lopsided braids,
Nodding her head to my question:
Did your mother make that for you?
Yesterday, in the discount store,
Walking the rows of clothing,
Not looking for style,
But searching for pattern
Something that would catch
My mother’s eye:
Aqua flowers –
The shape of which is a cross between
Artichokes and lotus blossoms –
Floating on a cream background
In soft chiffon,
Over my head it goes
Making me feel like