Have you ever stumbled upon beauty in an unexpected place? Or had it bump into you at a time when you needed to see something of hope? I was reminded of a moment when this happened to me this year.
Beauty inspires me. It allows me to see something & create, fill in the unknowns of the depth below the surface. But sometimes beauty needs to be taken just at face value & heard in the quiet places. This summer, at the end of a mission trip, my friends & I took a week to explore beauty in Europe. The mission trip had been hard, challenging & beautiful in itself, but…I think we all needed a little breathing room to process all we had experienced. On the last evening, the three of us got all dressed up, did our makeup, hair & headed out for a free jazz concert in the heart of Budapest.
The concert was in an upper room of a classic WWII era building, of marble & stone. It was standing room only, and even THAT was crowded. So one of the girls & I decided to grab a glass-bottle coca-cola, and go back downstairs to a little lounge room with two sets of french doors, an over-sized fireplace and a black grand piano. The room was completely empty except for a round fellow, balding & aging quickly with round, inch-thick spectacles & a bow tie. He sat at the grand piano, alone, playing classic jazz melodies.
I looked at him & thought up this life….he was an old man, that lived a normal life. A life that had no adventure and no big casualties. One that was never written about in a book, or would never be mentioned in the papers. He probably had never been married, but had been in love once & had never forgotten her. He lived at home and took care of his even older mother who called him by his full name. Music was the one thing he did exceptionally well, and that was where his adventure was made. It was through his music that he could write songs about the extraordinary things that he never experienced but always dreamed about. Every Saturday evening he would sing softly to an empty room, hoping that his normal life would do something, for someone, someday, somewhere. And that was his life.
Of course none of this was credible in any way, because the only thing we heard from him was in Hungarian…so it was all the beautiful imagination that I’ve been gifted with, taking hold of the could-be’s of his life.
But it struck me then & again today, just how beautiful that moment was. Sitting there with a friend, listening to a contented musician play out his soul through the notes of a piano, in an empty room that was filled with beauty. Such peace surrounded us, such comfort & stillness. What beauty met us there. We didn’t think of it then, but I see it now, that God’s beauty is like that night. It’s simple. It’s beautiful & comforting. It draws you in. It is riveting & calm. Hm. To stop & notice those beautiful moments…to stop & notice how God can bring us beauty & peace…to stop & notice that He notices you, and wants to bring us beauty. It’s beautiful.