Sometime back, on a flight to Houston, Texas, I sat by an employee of a large amusement park in Georgia. He was a young guy in his 30s who was on his way for a job interview with a large amusement park in Texas. He said that he and his wife had been praying that they would do God’s will in the situation.
Believe it or not, the next day I ran into this same fellow at the airport in Houston while waiting on my flight back to Atlanta. On greeting him, I asked how the interview had gone. He said, “Fine, but the amusement park in Texas is not nearly as pretty as the amusement park in Georgia.”
I responded, “So you’ll have to sacrifice beauty for responsibility.”
Immediately, he replied, “No, I’m hoping to make beauty.”
Seems to me that’s the idea. No, that’s the Divine’s idea. All of us are put here to make beauty. The question is, “How are we doing?” and that’s what the rest of this article is about.
First, to make beauty is to recognize, as someone put it, that God cannot perform his noblest deeds in our yesterdays.
The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed many beautiful buildings, homes and other magnificent structures. Toward the end of his career, a reporter asked him, “Of your many beautiful designs, which one is your favorite?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Frank Lloyd Wright answered, “My next one.” Evidently, Frank Lloyd Wright understood that making beauty is more than just being satisfied with past successes.
For sure, God has done a lot in our yesterdays — opened doors, blessed us with wonderful spouses and children, extended the favor of an employer and countless other blessings. And all that is glorious, and we should be thanking and praising God for his manifold grace.
However, we should remain on guard. It’s so easy to think “I’ve done my part, I’ve accomplished my goals. I’m just going to put it in neutral and leave the rest to others.”
But God never performs his noblest deeds in our yesterdays. Making beauty is a never-ending task.
Second, to make beauty is to dislodge our negative outlook.
I read about a television reporter who was interviewing a group of astronauts about the opportunities and dangers of travel in space. He concluded the interview by asking this question: “What do you think is the single most important key to successful space travel?”
One of the astronauts gave an interesting response: “The secret of traveling in space is to take your own atmosphere with you.”
And that is also the secret of making lasting beauty. The key is to take our own atmosphere with us.
Though the news or situations or circumstances are not always desirable, we don’t have to be influenced or destroyed by big doses of negativism. We can take our own positive atmosphere with us. As Paul put it, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds...” (Romans 12:2).
I still appreciate the late Robert Schuller’s phrase, “Great people are average people with a different attitude toward impossible situations.” Making beauty is dislodging a negative outlook.
Third, to make beauty is to be community minded.
Writing in his book “On the Brink Of Everything,” Parker J. Palmer states, “No one ever died saying, ‘I’m so glad for the self-centered, self-serving and self-protected life I’ve lived.’”
It is when we move beyond all this and offer ourselves to the community with our energies, gifts, dreams and spirits that we will make beauty. Making beauty always involves other people.
As I said earlier, all of us are put here to make beauty. The question is, how are we doing?