The Heartbreak and Hope of Beauty
There is a sort of heartbreak about viewing art, especially viewing artwork that really strikes you. Maybe it even cuts you to the heart. Suddenly, you feel the excitement of discovering a new favorite artist or something about the artwork that draws you in: a dark figure that seems to stick out underneath layers of a painting, dialogue in a theater performance that brings you to tears, or a raw poetic lyric that catches you in a hip-hop song. What’s heartbreaking about these experiences is that they can only last for a fleeting moment, or moments, depending on how long you sit with it or how many times you are able to come back to it. It is a temporary experience of beauty that can’t last forever, as much as we want it to. We can’t hold on to that moment when a work of art gets you and draws you in deeper.
BUT, the wonderful flip side of this heartbreaking, fleeting experience is that in those moments God is reaching out to us. Through our senses, He makes an almost violent grasp in ways that our humanity can become aware of and receive deeply, if accepted. These moments in which we deeply encounter beauty, if only for a short time, should cause us to reflect on how unending and unchanging God’s love and mercy is, and how He waits forever, endlessly, to give it to us when we choose to come to Him and receive His love. Let us always be conscious of this during those subtly heartbreaking moments. Those moments when we experience and appreciate art all around us- in the museum, in the natural beauty of a foreign landscape, during a concert, or in the beauty of a friend right in front of you.
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