There is beauty if you SEE what you see.

 Paradoxes  Comments Off on There is beauty if you SEE what you see.
Sep 232016
 

Portrait of a black father with his children

I have watched way too much cable news this week. I have seen way too many ugly images.

Two black men splayed out on the ground, mortally wounded by police bullets. Hoards of angry black men taunting police in riot gear, breaking windows and throwing bottles. A clueless white woman proclaiming at a political event, “If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you.”

I do not wish to overlook the ugliness. It is real, and we cannot dismiss it. Forgive me, though. I need to seek balance. I need to see beauty.

The irony is, I do see beauty around me every day. In my city, I see black and white people meeting the challenge of living together in tough circumstances with beautiful results.

I see black men preparing their children for life in an uneven world with love and courage. I see single mothers carefully packing their strollers and packages together while lovingly tending to their young children on a lurching city bus. I see white and black people helping each other and enjoying each other’s company.

I see people meeting the challenges of poverty, limited opportunity and racial inequity with courage and pride, and that is beautiful to me, despite the ugliness that may predicate each person’s circumstances.

I also see black and white people succeeding together in less challenged neighborhoods than my own. I see people of all races working together in successful careers, and I see artists, musicians, actors and dancers creating together with amazing results.

The beauty is there to see if we SEE what we see.

As a white woman, I cannot pretend to understand the experience of a black man or woman in American society. I cannot imagine what it is like to have your beauty overlooked with regularity, simply because your color is considered ugly by some. I cannot know how it feels to have your strength and character dismissed without a thought because some people presume you are a criminal simply because of your color.

I cannot fathom the despair that comes from knowing that no one listens until anguish turns to anger,  violence and destruction.

I can try, to understand, though. I can listen, and I can seek empathy. I can look for the beauty in each person that I meet, and I can celebrate it.

There is quiet, dignified beauty around us every day, but we ignore it. We seem to only pay attention to ugliness. I abhor violence, but I am beginning to understand why it emerges out of despair. If we allowed beauty to motivate change, the ugly would disappear.

Call me an idealist, but I believe beauty must be a part of our dialog towards change.

I may go unheard. I may go unnoticed. Even so, I want to celebrate the beauty I see. It is there, and it is what matters. I want to elevate it, in the hopes that recognizing beauty will help bring about change.

Will you join me?

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

 Contact me if you would like to add a print of the image above to your collection.

Sheesh. There's no good news anywhere. Give me some Matisse.

 Paradoxes, purposes and ponderances  Comments Off on Sheesh. There's no good news anywhere. Give me some Matisse.
Apr 132011
 
La-Tristeza-del-Rey

La Tristeza del Rey by Henri Matisse

Last night, I did my usual routine. I watched a CSI show online. I surfed through various news websites. I watched Rachel Maddow.

I am not the type who usually gets all depressed by bad news, but good grief! I found myself recalling the lyrics of an old Anne Murray song. The level of discord and disaster happening worldwide was really starting to get to me.

I found myself grasping for something positive. Something uplifting. Something totally non-serious.

A thought occurred to me… I suddenly remembered the words of one of my great artistic heroes, Henri Matisse.

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. – Henri Matisse

Matisse has been criticized throughout history for painting seemingly frivolous paintings during a time that his expressionist contemporaries were painting the horrors of war and injustice.

Thank God he did paint something of beauty and balance instead. We really do need to relax into a good armchair now and then.

I have now bookmarked the Google images page for Matisse on my iPhone, and I plan to visit it often.

Somehow, this song seems less schmaltzy with the Indigo Girls chiming in.