Families, Children & Marriage, Restoration & Reconciliation

A complex beauty

Sri Lankan BeachThere are some things that are inherently breath-taking and beautiful: a newborn baby sleeping, the mountains looming, the sea lapping the shore, a wheat field swaying in the wind.  In a world wracked with tragic ugliness, it doesn’t take long for our hearts to recognize the calming power and focus of which such simple beauties speak.  Such aspects of the created order symbolize a value for beauty and unity.  Yet within this reality is also immense diversity – sometimes so diverse it appears more chaotic than beautiful.

As a human race, we struggle much more with the concept of chaos and diversity than we do with beauty and unity.  Ethnic wars rage.  Globalism disregards the little people.  Opposing sides rail against each other.  Yet does it have to look like this?

Are beauty and unity truly pitted against diversity and chaos as the news headlines would have us believe?

Nature certainly gives of a part of the picture of created order.  Yet another piece of this puzzle involves human beings.  Even as we see them inflicting wars, cultural imperialism, trafficking, and bitter divisiveness, we also see humans participating deeply in the stories of reconciliation, empowerment, restoration, and respect for one another.  These people are merging the realities of beauty and unity with diversity and chaos to look something like this:

In other words, chaos and diversity exist within the realm of beauty and unity, not as forces working against it.

And what humans know the reality of this co-existence better than we who embody intercultural marriages?  I’d wager a large bet that beauty, unity, chaos, and diversity are integral aspects of our experiences, unable to be separated from each other.  Left unexamined and misunderstood, they do tend to pit us against each other.  But combined with some intense honesty and personal sacrifice, we are part of the picture to a world that desperately needs tangible examples of how to love, not hate.

It is not a task for the feeble-hearted, or for those only interested in learning about new food, new music, new clothing styles or new languages.  It is also not an endeavor to enter lightly with sugary visions of world peace.  It is a day-at-a-time thing, a walking-together path with fierce listening and compromising skills combined with perseverant hope and realistic acceptance.

And after all these things, it, too, is beautiful – albeit in a less visible and more complex way than the mountains and the sea – filled with all of their power and peacefulness, fury and calm.

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1 thought on “A complex beauty”

  1. This post approaches the discussion from the humanistic angle: various factions of humanity trying to find balance and get along. Looking at the poetic, tensile angst of it all. I see it from a Biblical angle, which both acknowledges realities and complexities in our world today, as well as reminds us that we are the ones who make it unnecessarily complicated. (Why do we like complications? Intrigue? Excuses?)

    There are only (and have only ever been) two sides: God’s side, or Satan’s side. From that infamous day in the Garden, Satan has duped humanity into thinking that God is not on their side, nor they on his, and therefore create an untrue 3rd side. When humans bought into this falsehood, they not only factioned themselves off from God and made themselves vulnerable to further evil ploys, directly, they ended up being pitted and factioned against each other because Satan’s m.o. is to divide and conquer. All of the social, racial, political, and other tensions people groups experience today still boil down to this issue of incorrect thinking, which Christ came to correct in us and help us clean up the mess a little bit so we could get a stronger head start on stepping forward the right way. Two sides. Only two sides. Pick one. God is already on our side if we choose against Satan; we don’t have to beg, slave, or manipulate Him.

    I don’t think I can insert diagrams into a comment, but from a Biblical perspective the arrows above would say “Beauty, Diversity, Unity” all on one side, reflecting the truth that diversity is part of God’s creation expressing His limitless capacity and personality. God did not create only one color, type of flower, or fish, or tree, or human, or angel, and so to think He ought to have is a rather unobservant, ignorant, and ridiculous thing for any sub-portion of humanity to think. If humans prefer to “mix it up” when they create, why would not our Creator? We are no greater than He. (Even those who want to assert God’s instruction to the ancient Hebrews not to intermingle with other people groups are speaking ignorantly; if you read the entirety of the Bible and pay attention to what you read, God instructed them thusly to protect a vulnerable and impressionable young people from being teased away to worshiping false Gods and therefore waive His protection. There are numerous examples of individuals from other cultures being allowed in if/when they accepted Jehovah as God.) Lastly, for the sake of clarity I remind readers that unity and uniformity are not the same. As the writer of this beautiful blog shares, she and her husband do not experience uniformity often at all but they are unified in their faith in God, which unifies the way they approach/handle life, and they are unified in their commitment to make the marriage work. Unity is often moreso the belief, intent, spirit, or purpose while uniformity is the approach, technique or method. Said simply, the What/Why vs. the How.

    Thus, back to the arrow diagram, if “Beauty, Diversity, Unity” rightfully belong together on one arrow, “Division, Chaos” would rightfully be on the opposing arrow. Emphasis: opposing. One arrow represents God’s creation and will, the other Satan’s attempt to ruin it. Thus we have encapsulated both the real messiness of what we experience day after day, as well as the real pan-human desire to see resolution, but we have done so in a manner that explains both why it is that way, and how to achieve the resolution. We can now identify what side each aspect of life belongs to (for example, inter-racial marriage strife within the community falling into Satan’s “Division” category), and therefore react appropriately to it. This blog author is reassured to fight against Satan, not other people, because there are only two sides (and God strengthens His).

    If there was ever a time when it was important enough to broadcast more often than stock quotes or the weather, this is it. We all need to make this our unified AND uniform campaign: There are only two sides. God’s side, or Satan’s side? Which do you choose? If you can get past the initial chuckle, wouldn’t life be easier if each person were forced to declare their loyalty and wear the appropriate team pinney? Red team or black team. Which is it? Are we on the same team or aren’t we? Wouldn’t life be so much easier? This is not the way the world is headed in the near term, but largely because we’re not expecting it. We’re not stating the demand, not setting the standard, not declaring the rules of the game. Thus, it has been played as a free-for-all.

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