Beauty is Before You

I began to gather up the oyster shells after dinner and slide them into a bag. My husband said, “You gonna use them for a photo?”

I smiled and answered, “They’re so pretty.”

Someone else at the table said, “And you see, all I see is dirt.”

I’ve known this person a long time so I laughed, thinking, that is a difference between us, but also thinking it’s not really a special power that I have, to see pretty where someone else doesn’t, except perhaps if you consider being sensitive all your life in a way that has probably made living a little harder than it needs to be, which has certainly been the case with me.

But all I do is pay attention. I just take a few moments to pay attention to the things God has made. This is, in essence, what any writer of a good book you’ve read has trained themselves to do—notice how a man reaches into his pocket, or how a woman’s face falls when she’s not saying but still remains disappointed, or how the wind feels after it rains. I could’ve just swept the shells up and tossed them into the trash, but I’ve paid attention to shells, and if you really pay attention to the shell of an oyster, it’s difficult to not want to take a photograph of it.

The next time you’re making dinner just arrange your ingredients before you in a way that seems pleasing, just for a few moments, and take a good long look at them. It’s a way of making life richer, appreciating its beauty, which is not somewhere out there but all around and before you, and it’s a way of being grateful.

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