Yesterday was a tough day. I found myself facing challenges to which I saw no immediate solution. I received news throughout the day that was ripe with disappointment. I left work feeling mentally and physically exhausted and a bit defeated. It was just one of those days. On my drive home, I kept thinking to myself, “How in the world am I supposed to see beautiful in all of this?” As I attempted to answer that question, my phone rang. For a second, I considered ignoring the call. After all, it was just one of those days. In the end, I decided to take a chance and roll the dice in hopes of landing on a bit of good news. The voice on the other end of the phone was that of a long time friend and colleague. For much of the day, she’d been trying to get in touch with me. I explained to her that my day had been spent putting out fires and trying desperately not to start new ones.
“It’s been a tough day to See Beautiful,” I said.
“Well, let me help,” she responded. “Today, I was reminded of something beautiful…thanks to you.”
Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about. I hadn’t seen or talked to her all day. With the mood I was in and the day I was having, I seriously doubted that I had aided anybody in seeing beautiful. She went on to tell me that she’d been looking for my contact information on her phone when she came across the last text conversation we’d had…almost a year ago. At that time, she was caring for her dog who had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. On the day of the text messages, she had traveled with her dog to see a specialist at a local university. I’d sent her a text on that day to ask about the visit and the doctor’s prognosis. She went on to say that she really appreciated the text messages on that day, and that it meant a lot to her that I thought about her and her pet. She also mentioned that rereading the text messages brought back a host of beautiful memories of her dog and all the wonderful things he brought to her life.
I smiled as I listened to my friend describe this inadvertent brush with beautiful. I smiled because I also remembered her wonderful dog with bright eyes who was always ready to play. I smiled because her memory inspired memories of my own dog who I’d lost years before; the lovingly patient one with wise eyes who was always ready for a walk. I smiled because I realized at that instance in time that beauty can be found everywhere…even in moments of pain, loss, confusion, and disappointment. In other words, beautiful can be found on one of those days.
I went to bed last night thinking about this very important lesson. I woke this morning, September 11, 2013, with a renewed commitment to see beautiful. On my way into work, I listened to the local radio station’s rebroadcast of news clips from the attacks of September 11, 2001. As I listened, I recalled the events of that day; the fear and sadness, the calls to loved ones, the anger and frustration. Immediately, I found myself spinning in the same ball of confusion I’d been met with just the day before. “Where is the beauty,” I wondered. Immediately, I thought of the conversation with my friend. I was immediately reminded of the acts of beautiful that grew out of the tragedy our world experienced on September 11th. I was reminded of the acts of bravery and kindness enacted in support of community. I was reminded of my own renewed appreciation for family and friends. I was reminded of the calls for peace, nonviolence, and cooperation that went out from communities around the world.
Recently, I came across footage from the ABC show, What Would You Do? I believe it is a nice example of a beautiful act in the midst of struggle. Given the players involved, I feel it is also especially relevant for today. If you have some time, take a look at the clip. I hope that it will remind you of the beauty that exist around you today; the smile of loved one, kind words from a stranger, an act of forgiveness, or a walk in the neighborhood with a furry, four-legged friend.