The next three days we were sent from one specialist to another until finally a diagnosis. They discovered a tumour touching the brain. Had it entered the brain? Was it malignant? Surgery was urgent, but infection from the cold made that impossible. The chilling reality was that if the infection reached his eyes, he could be blind within 24 hours and if it reached the brain, death was a distinct possibility.
It was three weeks on mega doses of antibiotics before the infection was overcome and surgery was scheduled. Six months, two major surgeries, lengthy stays in hospital and significant times of recuperation turned our life upside down. I needed to keep the family business running, maintain the flow of family life as normally as possible so as not to alarm our children and try and visit and support my husband every day. I had little sleep during those difficult and exhausting months but was wonderfully supported by great friends.
One of those friends dropped a meal in one day and was stunned that I took time to pick and arrange flowers throughout the house. I assured her, it was my lifeline. Somehow the beauty ministered to my soul. When I was exhausted and low, they reminded me that there was life and beauty beyond my present circumstances; they lifted my spirits.
Blaise Pascal said, “In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind”.
But sadly we live in a world increasingly devoid of true beauty. We’re offered glamour as a cheap and paltry substitute, project homes, often lacking craftsmanship and design, beauty shops groaning with expensive ‘outer beauty’ and time-poor relationships that have little strength left to invest in beauty. We either fail to recognise our need for it or convince ourselves that we don’t have time for it.
In the city last week I was overwhelmed with the acres of concrete, steel and hard lines. Many streets are so narrow that sunshine never reaches street level over the high-rise buildings. I wonder if this is part of the reason that society in general has become so hard … road rage, greed, selfishness, depression and abuse … so rife in our cities.
We've lost touch with beauty ... with nature ... with the very essence of what our soul longs for.
There’s healing beside a mountain stream, the lapping of waves on the beach or a quiet wander in a garden or the bush. There’s healing in nature, in a beautiful piece of art or the strains of music that touch our soul. Beauty has a way of stilling our hearts and minds, it deepens our breathing and restores peace.
And when the mind is quietened I often find an answer to a problem I couldn't see before or the problem loses its importance all together.
Beauty is always around us, we just need to be intentional in looking for it.
- Pot some pansies or polyanthus to put at your door
- Schedule time in nature every week, make it a priority
- Visit an art gallery
- Take time out to absorb yourself in music that you love
- Walk along a beach with a friend and let the beauty soak into our soul
- Set a beautiful table for dinner tonight, best china and linen … flowers and music
- Think of a way to add beauty to someone else’s life
- Make something beautiful to share
- Teach your children/grandchildren to love and embrace nature
- Burn a scented candle and let the fragrance calm you
- Introduce someone to your favourite place
- Actively look for beauty hidden in your every day.