December 9 JoyDare – THREE GIFTS UGLY BEAUTIFUL
Old and distressed (ugly?) add character here in an old door that came from a small house that was torn down from our church property. Its uniqueness and the memory of its origin add to its character, and we have put it to constant use in this old house, as did our daughter and her family before us, as a needed bathroom door.
Loneliness can be felt in a room full of people or in an empty house. I am not quick to take to heart rebuttals of superficial relationships due to, yes, here we go again, electronic social media; i.e. facebook, texting, etc. Those who do not neglect meaningful relationships, themselves may have a platform to stand on and a valid argument, but the root problem is not electronic media. I believe it has much to do with a fast paced society that does not have or take time for reaching out meaningfully and personally. If we do, however, manage to not fill our schedules to the hilt every day of the week, it’s likely as not we will have trouble finding anyone else who hasn’t, or worse yet, we gave up on the whole endeavor long ago! After all, dealing with electronic media, jobs, mission trips, etc., is easier than the nitty gritty of real, in your face personalities day in and day out, which properly “managed” take this thing called time; specifically including listening skills and responsiveness. Likely, a big heap of humility, too, for the times we offend. Most of us don’t have enough energy or margin in our days to deal with it. Anyway, loneliness is an ugliness that, despite the lack of company, and, in fact, sometimes because of it, can be transformed into beauty with some good, old-fashioned quiet time spent in the Word or listening/singing to worship music. It becomes a multidimensional beauty when practiced shoulder to shoulder with other believers, but much more than physical should to shoulder is implied here!
The near empty wallet is an ugly beautiful gift. Countless times, I have run short or forgot to budget for something important. I still get frustrated and exasperated, but the more I learn to give thanks, regardless, the more I see God do something beautiful. Maybe it’s with some unexpected money or other grace. Maybe it’s with a change in plans. Maybe it’s the impetus to plan better or use creativity and thriftiness. Maybe it’s a perspective change Whatever it is, faith and thankfulness have often merged here and turned ugly resentfulness into something beautiful.
These “ugly beautiful” gifts, according to Ann Voskamp, in “1000 Gifts”, develop in us “the hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty”. And the more we practice this discipline, the more we “wear the lens of the Word and all the world transfigures into the Beauty of Christ and everything is eucharisteo”.