Blogs, new artwork, and other updates from sculptor Douglas W. Merkey

Thought-provoking blogs, links, new artwork and other updates from sculptor Douglas W. Merkey.

The Healing Power of Beauty

I ran across these thoughts the other day in John Eldredge's book, "The Journey of Desire," (pp. 190-191). He was explaining what Kathleen had shared with him about beauty's role in healing since her being raped. These words are worth considering, for sure. It's one reason I'm compelled to create art for myself and for others.

""Ever since the rape, beauty has meant the world to me. No one seemed to understand why. Sometimes I would spend hours just gazing at my garden and the woods behind my house. Only beauty helps.

I [John] understand [Kathleen's feelings] completely. As the shock of Brent's death [John's best friend who died in a climbing accident] began to wear off, the searing pain of intense grief took its place. It was too difficult to read my Bible. Conversation required more than I was able to give. Frankly, I didn't want to talk to anyone, not even God. The only thing that helped was my wife's flower garden. The solace I found there was like nothing else on earth. I wrote in my journal, 'Sitting outside this evening, the Shasta daisies swaying in the gentle breeze on their long stems, the aspens shimmering without light, the full moon rising over the pine-crested bluff... only beauty speaks what I need to hear. Only beauty helps.'

Simone Weil was absolutely right - beauty and affliction are the only two things that can pierce our hearts. Because this is so true, we must have a measure of beauty in our lives proportionate to affliction. No, more. Much more. Is this not God's prescription for us? Just take a look around. The sights and sounds, the aromas and sensations - the world is overflowing with beauty. God seems to be rather enamored with it. Gloriously wasteful. Apparently, he feels that there ought to be plenty of it in our lives.

... I want to speak of beauty's healing power, of how it comforts and soothes, yet also how it stirs us, how it moves and inspires. ... All I want to do is validate those irreplaceable moments, lift any obstacle you may have to filling your life with greater and greater amounts of beauty."