Beauty and Function

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

– William Morris


William Morris, an English textile designer, artist, writer, and libertarian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement.

William Morris, an English textile designer, artist, writer, and libertarian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement.

I am on this kick right now to rid my home of anything I’m not using. For too long have I been lugging around baggage from years gone by that is only collecting dust. Therefore, when I came across this quote today I had to post it as a record of this season in my life.

It’s lovely that Morris connects the ideas of useful (or functional) with beautiful. I believe true beauty must be functional. Otherwise beauty is mere vanity.

True beauty serves a very important purpose as it warms and uplifts the heart in remembrance of the Creator of beauty, even if it’s on a subconscious level of thought. When I see true beauty it resonates with my soul, brings me peace, and merriment of heart, without me even realizing it’s happening sometimes.

It has been written, “a merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” {Prov 17:22}. I wonder if the writer of those words ever connected beauty with it’s merry-heart-function? If we surround ourselves with true beauty, I wonder if we will notice a difference in our countenance.

I find it intriguing that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so they say, but the merry-heart-function of beauty is the same for every beholder, regardless of what they consider beautiful. Don’t you think?

you are an original

“You are an original.”  – Auntie Kamakawiwo’ole, bio-chemist, 7:30p 9/8/2010

These words have had a profound effect upon my psyche.  Mainly because all of my life I have been trying to fit in – fit in to the world’s definition of life, love, happiness, health, success, beauty.  Worry and fear of what others may think of me has become ingrained within my subconscious.  Even though I’ve always said, “I don’t care what anyone thinks,” I’m learning that in fact, I do care what everyone thinks.  We may not want to admit it, but if we grew up in this world, we all care about what everyone thinks.  It’s part of us whether we like it or not because the world has taught us that if we don’t fit in then we are at worst psychotic and at best unpopular.

When I heard the words “you are an original” from the mouth of a bio-chemist, my mouth dropped, my mind opened, and I realized my uniqueness as one of God’s creations and my purposeful place in His Story of Redemption.  Each and every one of us is an original.  Like snowflakes – not one carbon copy of another.  Each one completely unique in design.  Each one part of God’s plan.

old journal, old woman

This morning, while flipping through an old journal, I was unexpectedly reunited with the Janie of ten years ago. I had forgotten who she was. On the dusty pages, I was met with a dark and dying soul – one who was at a loss for meaning in life – one who valued the trees more than the soul of another human being. She was an angry Janie, pissed off at the polluted world in which she found herself living – overwhelmed by the poisonous elements and the destructive power of humanity.

As I read her words, tears filled my eyes. I fell to my knees with shock and remorse for the woman I once was. With the sarcasm and contempt contained in those pages, it is hard for me to believe the same hand that types this now wrote those words a decade ago. My heart breaks for who she was, but rejoices for who she is now.

Why the change? You may ask. What happened to that woman of old? The answer: She met the Savior of the world one fine spring morning on the coast of California and she has never been the same since. Her heart was hijacked by a Love that has no bounds. She let go of what she knew wasn’t satisfying and stepped out in Faith – determined to follow through, even though she couldn’t see the Path in front of her.

It has been four years since I took that step into the arms of Jesus Christ. I knew that Faith would be an adventure, but I sometimes forget that I will have to revisit my old paths from new perspectives as God reveals them.  Often this revisiting process can be very painful.  Yet, I rejoice because I know that this is the process of sanctification.  It is this process that brings me closer in relationship with God.

I am humbled by His revelation of my former self this morning. I praise God for His Mercy and for reminding me of where I came from; allowing me to see with renewed clarity the Path set out before me.

When we stop to look at where we have come from, and compare that to where we currently are, then the direction in which we have been going becomes evident.

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