*Note - this post has been sitting in my notepad for the past two weeks. It was so fun to realize that people are actually following along and that periods of silence are met with "hey, where's the next one?" I've been learning a lot, so definitely more to follow. Remember that if you're with me, you don't need me to discover beauty by any means...
I've done a ridiculously good amount of people watching this week. The simultaneously wonderful and awful thing about living in a big city is getting all the unique, bizarre, and beautiful humans that come in it. People are weird. Aren't they? So very strange. Sometimes I wish I was a psychologist or something because it would never get dull, studying people. I spent a solid fifteen minutes the other day wondering why you can admire another human's hair so much. Like, why. It's long, thin strings of human-stuff growing out of your head. Hair is so weird, if you really think about it. Or you can hate someone else's hair. I've seen a few people this week that probably legitimately had birds nesting in their hair, maybe worse.
So I just admitted that I'm a weirdo too, even spending time thinking about stuff like that. But part of pursuing this project has led me to spend more time on looking, truly stepping back and seeing the world around me, instead of so quickly passing by. Yesterday, I stared at a fountain for quite some time, marveling at the concept of water. I've never actually stopped and enjoyed a fountain before. They're nice things that cities have and whatnot, but it's just a fountain, no? But if you look at all those molecules tumbling around and realize that there is nothing on this planet even remotely like water (see, I have a chemist for a boyfriend who reminds me of such things)...it's a much more amazing experience.
So yes, I've had many strange musings this week, and that's not even the half of it. A lot of my time has also been spent missing the Andes mountains, the pine trees in Big Sur, my toes dug into the sand at the beach I haven't seen in a month. Longing for adventure and places. Even missing my beloved ocean though I daily traverse the Bay - if my feet aren't in the waves it just isn't the same! (Side note, I still have not seen any whales and this makes me very sad.)
Apparently I have a lot of thoughts and feelings. Too late. I wondered why clothes matter so much to girls. Why lipstick got invented. Why people in other cultures can express themselves with weird adornments and we take pictures of them and say "this is beautiful" and turn around and cry "ugly" when our own try anything other than "normal". Why this. Why that. And none of these things led me to any conclusions about anything, really.
Beauty is fleeting.
My next phrase that I drew, just to do something, is "Collect moments, not things." Beauty is fleeting, and stuff is the worst. Everything breaks, goes out of style, stops working, is no longer considered pretty. But moments are a little better.
This sort of led me back to that Ann Voskamp book, One Thousand Gifts, that I was reading a few weeks ago. Collecting and being grateful for the smallest of moments, because they make up a whole life.
But we still have to have things. Stuff is kind of essential sometimes. People collect stuff every chance they get. In a certain sense, I'm in the business of making stuff. Design can mean a lot of things, but it always produces visible results. And like all other things, it eventually goes out of style. Times change, people want something different, something better. It's a game of keeping up.
Watching all these people this week reminded me that we can't get away from cutting our hair a certain way and wearing clothes that label us as functional beings in human society. We can't get away from producing stuff and trying to beautify the world in the process.
I beg you to read that again. Oh CS Lewis...my heart! The beauty I find in this life is but an echo of a tune not yet heard, a song unsung. The same man professed once that the most logical explanation for longing for things unseen is that I must be made for another world.
Well, my mind is officially blown. Before I dissect this new favorite passage of mine, I thought I might give you an opportunity to work through it yourself. I would simply add design to the list of books and music, as it falls into a similar category.
It makes sense that if we can't get away from stuff...the things that make up this life...if we can't run from attempting to create beauty...there must be a purpose to it all. And here it is. Good images of what we really desire, made to light our souls on fire. Made to point us to the Creator.