“Beauty will save the world.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot.
I’ve heard that saying many times. Perhaps quoted in art museums. On t-shirts. But whether you believe beauty can save the world or not, beauty does have the unique ability to pull back the curtain of our cares and worries and leave us fully exposed to one moment in time when our souls resonate with eternity. Perhaps you’ve stood on a mountain top or stood by the ocean and experienced such a moment. The ancient Celts called those “thin places.”
On Monday night this week, I was driving to a friend’s home to drop off some homemade nurturing food as she is re-cooperating from surgery. As I drove up 15 N, a drive I make on a regular basis, beauty pulled back the curtain, and for a moment I caught a glimpse of eternity.
The sun was glistening on the trees on the mountains. Those trees had been drenched all day in rain, but the sun had finally come out. The lengthening shadows intersected the rays of sunshine, leaving the mountains looking marbled. The clouds that remained from a day of storms shone rosy gold in ethereal tones. My heart actually physically ached from the beauty, and a sob caught in my throat. This moment was gift to me from my loving Heavenly Father, and I was acutely aware.
Immediately, my mind flashed to the story from The Last Battle when the children enter the stable door and find themselves in a more Narnian Narnia than the one they just left. And they realize that they must go “further up and further in,” for each ring of Narnian mountains leads to another even more Narnian Narnia. A picture of eternity.
Eternity is written on our hearts and beauty is a keyhole to that place where we know we were made for more than this world.