Creating: Beauty Temporarily

One of the things I find frustrating about contemporary culture is the way in which everything is compartmentalized. Only engineers design and build things, only chefs cook, and only artists create beauty. Not so. Although there are people with particularly good giftings in specific areas none of us is exempt from the responsibility to create and to recognize the variety and beauty of the world around us.

We don’t need to build a great edifice to be a builder and we don’t need to produce a five course meal to be a chef (although that challenge is fun for some of us), and we certainly don’t need to create lasting works of art worth millions of dollars to be artists who celebrate and notice the beauty of the world.

I know a man who has spent much of his career building homes, some fancy, some plainer but all built to the best of his ability. Is he not a maker?

Another friend is a photographer, who takes a picture every day and reveals to us what she sees. She may not be famous, but is she not an artist?

Another friend feeds people regularly through her coffee shop and gives them a little taste of home no matter where home actually is. Coffee and cheese sandwiches may not be a five star meal but she is still a chef to me.

Any of us can do this. Any of us can look about us, notice the good and beauty in the world, notice the hurt and sorrow in need of healing and create a small space where those hurts can be ministered to by the beauty and good around us.

It need not be permanent. It need not be elaborate. It needs to be founded in love and done with the intention to bless and share that love.

Here are a few examples of things that took only a few extra minutes but make a difference in the mood of a meal or gathering.

Efforts need not look the way you imagined to be meaningful. Su's "Strawberry " Birthday cake.

A few extra minutes, to find a pretty plate and align the slices evenly can take a simple salad from food for the body to food for the spirit.

Thirty seconds with a cookie cutter make pancakes really special to a preschooler.

Flowers and candles don't take long to arrange (and take less time the more often you do it) but brighten up a rainy fall day dramatically. The family feels drawn together as we gather for supper.

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