The beauty of the world around us
As I have gotten older I have begin to notice how beautiful some things have become, such as watching the sun come up or standing in a field on a cold night just looking at the stars. Somehow it gives me a certain peace in my life that I have not felt before,
The early Chinese teacher Confucius (551 to 479 BC) said that “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I think that is a reverent today as it was during Confucius’s time.
When we grow and start to run that rat race in life, you know the one, job, family, home. Sleep and then back to work. Every day seems to blend with every other day and except for a vacation here and there our whole lives take on one long trip. Each day is like the same and will be the same for the rest of time.
But a funny thing starts to happen during those 20 or 30 years we spend working and fighting to reach the top and get that little slice of pie, we start to grow older. We start to slow down and one day it is all over–we are retired.
Some of us retire because we have put in our time on the job. Others retire due to illness.
Yesterday we were celebrating our 21st birthday now we are 65 or older. I have to say that being healthier has prolonged our working life by almost five years.
Some enjoy working and will keep at it to the very end. Others, like myself, are forced to slow down. I have always loved the line, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” I think one of the miracles of the world both yesterday and today is the human spirit and what it can accomplish.
Now I am going back to something I loved before that rat race and that was the beauty around me. The sky, the trees and the lovely green fields of spring.
There is beauty everywhere. If you truly understand this, the world around you can change in a blink of an eye.
You can look at any ordinary object and find beauty in its very existence. You can look at grapevine leaves covered with snow and see a work of art.
You can meet a person who by all social standards cannot be described as good-looking and realize that they are the most charming, witty and intelligent person you have ever known.
Beauty is not an objective and quantifiable characteristic, like height or weight. It is not limited to physical appearance and, as many wise men point out, it lies in the eye of beholder.
To me, the ability to see beauty in the world is no different than the ability to think positive thoughts. Instead of constantly focusing our attention on the shortcomings, imperfections and downsides of people around us, we can stop the flow of negative thoughts and concentrate on the positive aspects of a situation; we can train our eyes to become more sensitive to the beauty that already surrounds us.
Editor’s Note: The Chronicle lost a long-time friend and contributor this week. Jim Whipple passed away at the age of 74. We thank Carol Galant, close friend of Jim, for providing us with this, his last column for the Chronicle. May we all see the beauty Jim now sees.