On a trip to Kathmandu several years ago, a friend and I walked down a narrow dirt lane in a residential neighborhood. We skirted potholes and dodged piles of broken red bricks. The road was an eyesore, to say the least.
Then we came to a T-intersection, and that’s when we saw it: Wire fencing encircled an extra-large pile of debris. On that pile, someone had placed a flower pot teeming with orange blooms.
My friend and I stopped and stared. The flowers stood in stark contrast to the drab scene around them. They were, truly, a splash of beauty amidst the mess.
The world is a messy place right now.
We don’t have to look far to find chaos, confusion, fear, division, and pain. Focusing too much on the news can lead us into an unhealthy place, yet we don’t want to turn a blind eye because we’re called to care about others’ needs, to pray, and to practice compassion.
So, how can we walk this road without tripping into a pothole of despair?
I believe we need to look for splashes of beauty…
The moment dawn breaks the darkness.
A baby’s giggle.
A child’s hug.
A bird’s trill.
A timely word of encouragement.
Coffee with a friend.
Splashes of beauty don’t need to be big things. Rather, they’re often small and easily overlooked, but they’re God’s gifts to us. They’re glimpses of His love and care, especially in life’s hard places.
My friend and I could easily have missed seeing the flowers because we were watching where we placed our footing on the torn-up lane. You and I can easily miss splashes of beauty because we’re intent on managing current challenges, completing our to-do list, or nursing hurt feelings. So how can we become more aware of their presence? The key, I believe, lies in practicing gratitude.
“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus,” says 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Expressing gratitude lifts our eyes from the path on which we’re walking to the One who leads us on that path. It changes our focus and where we place our sights. It leaves us more alert to God’s activity around us, and more likely to recognize those little evidences of His presence and care.
So tell me, my friend—what splashes of beauty have you seen amidst the rubble and debris? What evidences of God’s love have caught your eye amidst the mess?