Taylor had her school program the other night. She was a bundle of nerves about her solo and she practiced tirelessly to get ready. On the night of the show, she could hardly contain the smile on her face as they sang and danced their way through the music. Her joy was infectious.
Afterwards, my normally very straight-laced daughter self-consciously whispered to me, “That was so much fun! I didn’t want it to end!” And her face was flushed and her eyes bright.
And I said, “That’s how life is supposed to feel sometimes.” And she smiled sheepishly.
Life Lesson #11 was about Seeking Beauty... but when the search is over and we find ourselves inside it, those rushes, those moments of something so great, so perfect, so “everything I thought it could be,” it has to be fully acknowledged. Those moments can be rare, so few and far between, especially as we get older and the world isn’t the same as it was when we were children. When you find yourself submerged in one of those moments, appreciate the experience completely… exist solely inside of them, because they will never return to you exactly as they are in that singular experience. Close your eyes, take a breath, remember how you feel, what you smell, what you see when you let your eyes flutter open. Let the feeling of it wash over you, the waves like a gift, temporary and complete. And as it leaves you hang onto the slivers of beauty it leaves behind. Reminders of what is possible.
The world is full of darkness, there are so many things that bring worry, anxiety, stress, and grief. Those gifts, those wisps of happiness are reminders that life can also offer things that are stunningly beautiful, the potential for the beauty far outweighs the reality of the darkness. As people, we are built for durability. The “bad” can be given in larger doses, we are made to withstand the things that seek to break us… but the beautiful is meant to be rare and fleeting or it wouldn’t be so. The beauty is often doled out in smaller doses and withdrawn swiftly, so that the preciousness isn’t diluted and the gravity isn’t lost. A single flame can be seen for miles on the vast darkness of the ocean… such is beauty.
By the morning after her program, the pink bloom dancing on her face the night before had receded, the brightness in her eyes so vivid was dulled, but a shadow of the memory would remain. And it’s those beautiful memories we string together in remnants of the things that move us to keep seeking them despite all the other noise, despite not knowing when it might return.
So pause when it arrives, stop moving and plant your feet accepting it’s presence, relenting to the powerful things it stirs in you – even parts you may have forgotten even exist; they never left you. You will find your capacity to be moved, to be at a loss for words and be transfixed in the physical joy that rises. And even as it leaves, always too soon, be thankful to have been given the glimpse in the first place… it’s what makes this life more than just bearable, it makes this life worth fighting for.