Appreciating the Beauty That Surrounds Us

IMG_3675It sure is easy to see the ugly side of life. The world is full troubles – terrorism, war, oppression, suffering.   And we all have our own individual problems, large and small.   But each of us also has many blessings. When we focus on our problems, we can become dejected and depressed, and, in a vicious circle of negativity, soon the problems are all we can see.   Yes ugliness abounds, however beauty also surrounds us if we can only see it.

I’m getting some help in that regard from my adult son, who’s become interested in photography. During a couple of his recent weekend visits, he’s spent hours in the backyard just wandering, looking, and taking close up photographs of whatever catches his eye. He doesn’t have any fancy equipment, just a new iPhone, but he’s having fun and getting some nice pictures. Here are a dozen that I like.

Various flowers


Bougainvillea bracts


Dying leaf


Rotting logs


Lichen on tree trunk


Bee leaving a flower


Glazed pot surface


Water droplet in ornamental cabbage


Of course he has many more. Who would think you could get hundreds of worthwhile pictures from a few hours in a small yard? Not all are prizewinners of course. Some are much more beautiful that others, but the vast majority are interesting and attractive.

After reviewing his first efforts, I spent some time with him on subsequent forays. We turned over rocks, inspected tiny flowers, looked closely at weeds and bugs, and got some more pictures. His turned out much better than mine. Apparently, I don’t have his eye or steadiness of hand, but I enjoyed the time with him, and I am seeing the beauty. The more I look for it, the more I see. An ordinary suburban backyard – filled with beauty.

Beyond the backyard, my son himself is a blessing to me, as is my daughter and my wife. Spending time with him and them is enjoyable. They are beautiful people, inside and out. My family and our good family relationships are blessings from God.

In the larger world too, the more I set my mind on beauty and blessings, the more I see. Most people aren’t terrorists. I know plenty of honest, kind, caring and generous individuals. Most of my friends and coworkers are beautiful people too.

Blessings abound. My job, my church, my health, my home – all blessings. America is a blessing. As I write this blog, the morning sunshine streaming through the window is a beautiful blessing. (Living in Florida in February is a major blessing.)

Truly, God’s many good gifts surround me. I’m going to think about that more.

How about you?

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Phil 4:8   NLT