Saturday, 3 August 2013

Barren Beauty

Winter's canvas captured

On a brisk, late afternoon walk around the neighbourhood this week, the tree above captured my attention. How a tree with no leaves could grab me is a little perplexing because it's not like an unusual sight for winter. Though deciduous trees are fewer in Queensland than other colder states of Australia, we do have them, evergreens however probably win the majority.

It's shape. It's barrenness. It's simple starkness. It's silhouette in the dimming light of day.

Made me think about seasons in life. Of winter and what it brings to us.

Cooler temperatures. A reprieve from the heat of summer. Shorter days.

Usually more stunning sunsets and sunrises too. I have often said that Redcliffe is at it's most beautiful in the winter. Because the sky seems bluer, the sea around our city also seems bluer, it appears glassy & translucent. In summer it is usually choppier, not as clear and full of jelly fish!

Winter in our inner selves can sometime feel like nothingness, emptiness, dryness, barrenness, does my life have meaning? It's not full blown depression, it's just a flatness or fragility that isn't filled with the vim, vigour and colours associated with summer.

I thought of the beauty in barrenness and of how counter culture that is. We associate beauty with fullness, yet we ought if we can, embrace it rather than despise or ignore it.

Cherishing different seasons and what they bring. When feeling empty, cold, dry, brittle, run out, barren or spent, nothing to give, remember spring is just around the corner. Winter, thankfully doesn't last forever!

There is a lovely beatitude that comes to mind, one that has comforted me many times in the 'winter moments and seasons' of my life.

'Blessed are in the poor in spirit, for they shall be filled'.

Another modern translation of this has been quoted in, "Further Along The Road Less Travelled" by Scott Peck;

'Blessed are the confused for they shall be filled'.

"When Jesus gave his big sermon, the first words out of his mouth were: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." There are a number of ways to translate "poor in spirit," but on an intellectual level, the best translation is "confused."

Blessed are the confused. If you ask why Jesus might have said that, then I must point out to you that confusion leads to a search for clarification and with that search comes a great deal of learning. For an old idea to die and a new and better idea to take place, we have to go through periods of confusion. It is uncomfortable, sometimes painful to be in such periods. Nonetheless it is blessed because when we are in them, we are open to the new, we are looking, we are growing.

And so it is that Jesus said, "Blessed are the confused." Virtually all of the evil in this world is committed by people who are absolutely certain they know what they're doing. It is not committed by people who think of themselves as confused. It is not committed by the poor in spirit."

With this I am happy to be confused, barren, feeling empty and poor in spirit as I know it keeps me humble and forever seeking to learn more. It also releases us from having to have it altogether. Phew! 

Cherishing seasons in life
Cherishing what each brings
Cherishing barren beauty

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