“God has given us the Morning Star already: you can go and enjoy the gift on many fine mornings if you get up early enough. What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more — something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it” (C. S. Lewis).
SOMEWHERE WITHIN EACH OF US, THERE IS A DESIRE FOR BEAUTY. In fact, this is one of our deepest desires, whether we recognize it as such or not. And it’s not just that we want to see or hear or touch particular things that are beautiful within our world: “We want something else which can hardly be put into words — we want to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it” (C. S. Lewis).
Isn’t this why we’re drawn so powerfully toward personal beauty? However much we may be moved by the beauty of things like sunrises and songs and stories, the beauty of certain persons acts on us even more magnetically. And it’s not just their physical beauty that pulls us toward them; it’s almost always a combination of inward and outward traits that blend together and make us want to know them — and to be known by them — at the deepest possible level. The beauty of these individuals is merely a marker, a pointer. It points us toward something we have a built-in need for. We may not be able to define it or describe it, but we know for a fact that we’ve met people who stir within us a desperate longing for something we’ve never experienced in its fullness or perfection. Let’s call this thing Beauty.
But as we all know, beauty is not the only thing in the world; there is also much ugliness. And so we have a choice to make: will we give in to the ugliness that taints our lives or will we resist it? I’d like to encourage you to resist it. When faced with a choice, choose beauty. Learn to appreciate it, and educate your taste for it. Make it one of your core values, and exhibit it in your character. Love it, and share its sharp, piercing wonder with others who love it as you do.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.