All this month I have been thinking about and reflecting on the practice of beauty. I have practiced seeing the beauty in everyone I meet, every situation I am in, and every place I go. The other day I was having a conversation with a dear friend who is going through a challenging time. I had to stop and ask myself where is the beauty in an illness, which makes someone suffer and feel as if the Divine has abandoned them. When I prayed with her, I was somehow about to express all that was in her heart and that she had not been able to find the words for in her own prayers. While I have never been in my friend’s place, I could empathize by thinking about the times I had felt broken, forsaken, and abandoned. It was during this time that I discovered a simple truth.
It is these times and situations which serve to be our greatest teachers. It is in our state of brokenness that we find out just how strong we are. It was during those moments when I sat crying in the shower telling the Ultimate that I did not feel as if I had the strength to go on; that I realized my strength came in the surrendering of that which I did not need to carry. My strength came in releasing all my fear, anxiety, pain, and hurt. My strength came from knowing that even in my darkest of times, there were lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gained. It is these times, which have been my greatest teachers.
These times have taught me compassion, wisdom, understanding, devotion, faith, and insight. It is in these times when I felt like I had nothing more to hold on to than my faith that I found my way back to hope and joy. It was when I went through situations where I felt as if everything had been taken from me, that I was able to discover the riches that were buried within me. It is in the midst of my brokenness that I began to see the beauty, which was hidden in the cracks in my life.
One of the most beautiful experiences I have found during this time was the holy calm, which came after a good cry. Normally, I have done the best and most cleansing of my crying in the shower where I am at my most vulnerable; where I am standing alone before the Divine, surrendering all I am feeling with complete honesty and a desire to wash away all that was stored within.
Whenever I cry, which I do for quite a few emotions, my wife tells me why she does not like crying. It gets her congested and then her nose runs, so she does not like crying. For me, however, it is a great release. I used to think that I looked horrible after I cried, although not as bad as when I wore mascara and had black dripping down my face. What I came to realize though is that after a good cry, the expression on my face seemed to be more peaceful and settled. So after crying my way through the storm, I find my holy calm. For me, there is nothing more beautiful than being in a state of calm with the Divine. There is beauty in the healing that tears bring as they help cleanse us of the pain. So this month, may we begin by giving ourselves permission to find the beauty in our brokenness and open ourselves up to the healing power of the Divine.