Beauty Is Closer Than I Think

Christina Baker // Tales From the Trenches


February 18  

Dostoevsky penned a famous quote that I’m fond of: “Beauty will save the world.” I seem to stumble on the sentiment often, which might be my own fault—(it is writ large on my favorite notebook). In my home, however, most of the time Truth and Goodness feel a little easier to handle than Beauty. I know where to look for Truth, and Goodness is constantly on my mind. Trying to train five little rascals—and myself—makes sure of that! But how to bring more Beauty into our lives?

It’s easy for me to wander through craft stores and wish I had a budget to cover new wreaths and wall hangings, or through the grocery store and wish I could buy fresh flowers for every room. I can feel the discontent running thick in my veins at times like these. If coming up with the money isn’t hard enough, then there is the problem of time. Who has time to even clean properly, much less create a wonderland of beauty, all while keeping the two-year-old away from the hot glue gun and the decorative pebbles? Not me.

The good news is, my kids have this under control.

We started a new chore routine recently, and one of the perks of taking care of their assigned space was that the child then got to do some decorating. I made no rules beyond designating the space, and I have been surprised and thrilled with the results. Kids have an eye for the interesting, and mine have come up with all sorts of things I’d never have thought of. A few examples:

– A bouquet of blooms from the bushes in our front yard

– A nutcracker peeking out of a gift box (for Christmas)

– Ferns and “weeds” scavenged from our yard and arranged in a baby food jar

– Citrus in bowls and vases (It’s winter in Louisiana, so there is always citrus.)

– Dried flowers in a soda bottle

– String-and-nail art

– Dishes of sea shells

– Stacks of beautiful books

– Still-lifes with small toys

None of these things cost money, and I don’t think they saw any of them in a decorating magazine. (Well . . . maybe in a library book!) Most of them didn’t look terribly sophisticated, but neither does anything else in a house with five children. The point is, my kids saw something that my adult eyes so often overlook: the abundant beauty of this world which our good God has showered upon us.

I still have dreams of adding art to our home, and more poetry, and more music, so that we walk through each day surrounded by Beauty. But in the meantime, my children have taught me a valuable lesson—Beauty is closer than I think.

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