Picture my mom took from the plane with her iphone as she
landed in Finland. To me it looks like a painting. I find
this simple photo filled with beauty.
My sister and spent a semester of college in Cambridge, England. It was one of the greatest times in our lives and I'm grateful on a daily basis that my parents enabled us to have that extraordinary experience. One day we were in the Fitzwilliam museum with our classmate Jenn. She walked into one of the rooms and looked at a paintings and starting sobbing. I didn't know what was going on. I was worried someone had hurt her or the painting had triggered a sad memory. I asked her if she was okay and why she was crying and she said: "I'm crying because the painting is so beautiful." Jenn gave me an appreciation of art that I'd never had before. I'd always enjoyed it because my mother is an artist and always exposed us to a lot of art and music, but I'd never really had the time to fully "see" the art, even though it had always been right there in front of me. Somehow Jenn pointing out the beauty that she saw in that painting that made her cry helped me see it too. Jenn crying through museums turned out to be quite common. There was almost something in every museum that made her cry and I purposely went through every museum with her to experience the rapture she felt and enjoy the art with her.
I see beauty in so many things. But it is more than just "seeing." Like Jenn crying it is experiencing it with all of your five senses and "feeling" that beauty inside your heart. I've written before how I feel beauty in flowers, clouds, music, photography and paintings and art. And I of course I see beauty in food. The gorgeous palate of colors of food, the way it placed on a plate, the smell of it, the taste of it. Last night I was in a restaurant with some friends and the server walked by with a dish to another table and we all went "what was that incredible smell!" It was like an intoxicating perfume that you couldn't get enough of. And I realized what incredible sensual pleasure food gives to me. Looking at fresh produce is vibrant and gorgeous, hearing the chopping sound and sizzling sound of preparing food, smelling food cook, and then seeing how beautiful it on the table and finally tasting it! Top that off by experiencing all of those things with good friends and that is about as good as it gets for me!
I've met people before that don't like to cook. But then they've come to cook with me for a day and say "you make cooking fun" and suddenly they are having a good time. They can experience some of the feelings I have about the food by being with me, just like I could experience the paintings even more being with Jenn. Science has never never been one of my favorite subjects but Melissa Madeline's molecular science teacher is as fascinated and enthralled by science as I am about cooking. Just listening to him talk about how science IS IN everything and how everything is composed of these molecules (and they build models of these molecules) all of a sudden science seem like a bundle of fun.
Here is other news that I'm sharing with all of you instead of just the Fiddle team. When you "experience" food and enjoy and taste it, see it and care about it, you rarely overeat. You enjoy it, you share it with friends, you eat delicious fruit and wonderful food and you feel satisfied and full-filled. The greatest thing ever is that we get to eat at least three times a day (or if you're me, then 5 times a day) and you get to have this same joy over and over again. It is never-ending! I get to enjoy my cup of tea every single morning with such complete satisfaction that I literally think every single day after the first sip "I just love tea!" I remember feeling when I was younger that I had to eat all of the delicious food in one day before I realized there was the next day and the next day and the next day. Plenty of time and opportunities to eat and enjoy all the food that is out there. And just when you might start being sick of food a new season comes upon us with the fruit and vegetables you can only get in that season. (I'm waiting for pomegranates and cranberries at the moment!)
And finally I have to tell you about the beauty that is inside you. How beautiful you are and how your beauty radiates out to so many people. I cry when babies are born. I cry at the miracle of birth and this living breathing human being. All of these people with beauty that emanates out of them. And it is really through people that I see God. Of course I see God through Nature and all these molecules and the miracle of everything that is created. But I also see God the most through the kindness and compassion of people and the love in their eyes when caring about another living being. And I know that people can become guarded and have hardened their hearts to protect themselves and so the beauty inside is sometimes trapped within them trying to leak out. There has been a lot of talk this week about bullies and people being hurt and what can be done to prevent that from happening. If we can make the people around us feel safe and loved then beauty and kindness will spread. So many people are just overflowing with beauty. I see it everyday and "feel" it everyday.
This last week I got to hear a little girl sing "Amazing Grace" and like Jenn in the museum tears uncontrollably ran down my face. I could look up at the beautiful sky and the palm trees and see the beauty all around me. I'm far from perfect and I have a hundred and one faults. But thanks to Grace, despite my imperfections, I can focus instead on seeing and feeling beauty and sharing it with others.
Grace and Peace to all of you and your beautiful hearts!