The way I see it, there are three types of beauty in life.
The first is the kind that we casually pay lip service to, without attaching any significant value. The second is a beauty that dazzles for a time, but quickly fades because it lacks real substance.
However, the third type of beauty is the one I think we all strive to find. It is a kind that touches your soul in such real ways that it leaves you feeling like your lungs will stop working or that your legs will cease to hold you. It is a beauty that leaves you with sudden tears in your eyes and a smile in your soul. This third type of beauty is one that doesn’t fade easily, it sticks with you and reminds you of a special secret your heart remembers, but your mind does not. A beauty that brings joy, peace, and childlike wonder. It is a beauty that speaks of the place we all came from, somewhere our hearts instinctively tune to when we allow ourselves to hope.
I believe this third type of beauty is the kind that points us to God, and it is this type of beauty that I will live my life for. Dear reader, my challenge to you this week is to seek out this third type of beauty and allow yourself to sit in the wonder of it.
“In speaking of this desire for our own faroff country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory