photo credit here
if not for my bad attitude, i wouldn’t have noticed …
i was doing the passenger-seat-pout, a pose you married folk (or surly teenagers) might know well. it typically involves an argument, the remnant of which is still hovering, like the scent of a tree-shaped air freshener, between the two of you. to achieve this posture, you simply inch yourself, arms crossed and jaw clenched, as far toward the passenger car door as possible — a physical sign to the driver that accomplishes what slamming a door or stomping out a tantrum might if you weren’t currently trapped in a moving vehicle.
avoiding eye contact at all costs, i leaned my forehead against the window – and caught sight of them out of my peripheral vision.
we had pulled to a stop at the type of intersection where i might have discreetly hit the door locks, had i been alone. flanked by gas stations that each boasted the lowest price on cigarettes, this swath of street was littered with junk food wrappers, discarded hubcaps, an odd, single shoe.
beneath a petro sign decomposing with age and rust stood a gathering of yellow flowers, stooped, but standing. they weren’t the prettiest flowers i’d ever seen. yet, the stark contrast they created – tender petals hovering above oily asphalt – made them a provocative display.
i’m thinking of them today … and of the hope they offer.
because even in the ugly places, beauty can be found. cliché, cliché but true. amidst brokenness and filth, scattered among the thrown away and the forgotten, something alive with beauty can bury its roots deep and thrive.
take that image in, friend. let its truth sink deep. for even in those times when we greet the day with gritted teeth, when we work daylong, piling up a heap of things we should have done differently, when we hear our voices or glimpse our hearts and find ugly ugly ugly, we are not without hope.
there is a beauty within us that is not of this world,
and though it may feel dormant, it lives.
He lives – within, if we’ve invited him.
and his presence is perennial.
we may litter our landscape with ugly, but those roots that tether us to Him
will bloom beauty, in time.
take heart, friends who struggle, as i do, with the ugly: