Our attention is so used to being grabbed, so used to moving from new thing to new thing, that I wonder how much beauty we see every day was intended to impact us, but can’t.
Today I saw a rainbow, one of the really big ones with all colors on display. There was a bright, clear sky right in the middle, with an exceptionally puffy cloud. The kind painters dream of, the kind kites chase. I pulled over into a nearby parking lot to take a picture so I could remember the moment. I got home with every intention of getting my family outside to have a moment of marveling at the beauty - one of the few things it feels like we cannot comprehend or replicate but is truly Gods fingerprint. By the time I pulled in the drive and made it inside, it totally slipped my mind. I was swept into the next thing that grabbed my attention.
What did I miss out on by not reveling in that rainbow’s beauty a little longer? By not making a point to share it with those I love most? Bigger than that, what is the purpose of a rainbow anyway?
These questions are ones my mind was flooded with later in the evening, after dusk. I started pondering on all the beauty that we, especially in America, consume, witness, participate in, every day. But how much do we marinate in it?
My violin teacher used to use an analogy all the time that she called the “jello effect”. In learning the violin, there are many techniques or stages to learn, then you have to do it over and over again to perfect, both in your hands and muscles and in your ear and sub-conscience. It takes time and repetition, with nothing changing, to let it turn into the final product, or into jello, if you’re making a snack. ;)
I think we have undervalued the time it takes to truly consume beauty. Real beauty. Real art resonates. It takes time to resonate. It’s ok to stand in front of a masterpiece for a long time and let it affect you. To absorb the real life brush strokes. That’s why there are benches in museums! We’re supposed to sit and take in the larger than life painting, not just walk past it like a piece of wallpaper. It’s ok to listen to a song over and over again, to absorb the finessé of the lyric, or comprehend and admire the layers of the harmonies and track. It’s ok to watch a movie over and over again, to bathe in the story, and the art of the actors and cinematography. Read the book again and again to your children - I promise they are getting something new out of it every time! Art shapes humanity - it reminds us we are intended for the eternal.
So next time you see a rainbow, take a second and let it touch your heart. At some level you’ll remember where you came from, and where you’re striving to land again: in the Heavenly realms.