Last night we attended a Christmas concert performed by the 399th Army Band from Fort Leonard Wood. It was very good, and the kids danced the entire hour away.
Halfway through, one of the sergeants invited the audience to join her in a moment of silence to honor those who had lost loved ones that morning. Afterward she commented that music connects people of every creed, race and religion, and how if we focus on the beautiful, it can prevent the ugly things in our world.
I was struck with sadness at how utterly hollow those words must seem to those who had lost their loved one to any kind of senseless violence.
The sergeant then began to sing beautifully one of my favorite songs “What a Wonderful World,” and the song struck me as almost ludicrous to follow up the moment of silence designed to commemorate such carnage as some families had suffered.
Maybe I really over thought the entire thing, but as I listened to the words: I see trees of green…….. red roses too… I began to think of how all the ugliness of this world must make a heart hunger for what is not ugly, what is Light, and Beauty and What is Utterly Good. As Ann Voskamp penned in her book 1000 Gifts:
That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him.”
I see skies of blue….. clouds of white… And I thought, maybe this song is more fitting than I first thought, especially to those of us who have a Hope. God has given us so much beauty, and yes, it is a wonderful world, because He is a wonderful Creator God.
We are here, in this undeniably imperfect and hard world, but we can choose to see the beauty with the ugly through a lens of true thanksgiving and remember that God is with us and for us. He weeps with us, treasures our tears, and He is good.
“…the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”
― Ann Voskamp
The sergeant may speak of an overly simplistic view of life, perhaps because she failed to acknowledge God where we most need to see His face, but as a Christian, I was thankful for Louis Armstrong’s reminder, intentional or no, of the beauty that abounds here, and how much we do have for which to be thankful and joyful.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phillipians 4:8