Sherri Gragg

Juggler of words and children…collector of pottery shards

Starving for Beauty

I woke up tired yesterday, and was tired all day long. Then last evening, I hit pause on the tyranny of the urgent, hopped in my Jeep and picked up one of my most treasured friends, Diana, to attend the members opening of the Jaume Plensa exhibition at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee.

Plensa installation at Cheekwood. 7-8 tons

Plensa installation at Cheekwood. 7-8 tons

It felt like such an extravagance for both of us- women who are both rearing big families and working in ministry as well, but as the evening stretched blissfully on, we were reminded that our time soaking in the rich beauty of Mr. Plensa’s work was not an extravagance at all.

It was essential to our well-being- physically, emotionally, mentally, and…spiritually.

My friend, Diana, is an amazing woman. She is brilliant, vibrant, beautiful, and creative. She can teach God’s word like nobody’s business and is a gifted musician as well. Last night, as I stood beside her, gazing at one of the breathtaking sculptures illuminated in the twilight and reflected in the water of the pond in which it was suspended, I reminded her of something she once told me.

Cheekwood. The pond sculpture. Beautiful at night

Cheekwood. The pond sculpture. Beautiful at night

“Diana, you are right,” I said. “Beauty is a ministry. We need it!”

“We do!” she said,”and we have to make time for it.”

“At my church, St. John’s,” I said, “we often talk about how focal practices such as taking a walk, or observing nature, help us make space to hear from God. I think coming to an exhibition like this is the same. I am not sure why that surprises us. God is the origin of all that is beautiful. As Annie Dillard says, ‘The Creator loves pizzaz!'”

As we walked to the Jeep at the end of the evening, I didn’t feel so tired anymore. I turned to Diana in the fading light.

“My heart is full again,” I said.

“Mine too,” she agreed.

When is the last time you lifted your head from the mundane? When did you last make space for God, the origin of all that is lovely, to speak to you through something beautiful? He is waiting. Do it today.

Arms Open Widejpeg

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