I like to have a person’s knowledge comprehend more than one class of topics, one row of shelves. I like a person who likes to see a fine barn as well as a good tragedy.Ralph Waldo Emerson
There’s so much to know in this world that it’s kind of sad when someone chooses to ignore everything but one specific topic. We have so much to see and learn and do that there’s not enough time in our lives to do it all–so we might as well use the time we have to do as much as we can, right?
There’s a great deal of beauty in a fine barn. Between the symmetry of the design and the wood that’s used and the building techniques and the grace that go into it, a barn can be a truly beautiful object, even if it looks quite plain at first glance (just like many people!). But for someone who has embraced the so-called “finer” things in life–literature and architecture and fine meals and the like–something like a barn becomes a common, everyday object that holds no value in and of itself. It’s quite ironic that these people who call themselves “cultured” are blind to the ordinary beauty in this world. It’s also quite a shame that they aren’t able to experience that beauty and appreciate it.
We make ourselves richer every time we recognize and appreciate things in life that deserve our admiration. Not all of the “finer” things in life are those things that others define as being “fine.” A good plate of spaghetti is as fine a meal as any gourmet meal, and while I eat the spaghetti I’m much more relaxed and I enjoy the meal more. A nicely decorated house is as special to me as a fine museum–the contents can be as nice as the museum’s, just not as expensive.
There is room in our lives for the finer things, and for appreciating them for what they are. But my hope is that I never will become so engrossed with the “finer” things of life that I lose sight of the beauty of those things that bless my life all day, every day. If I do lose that, I lose a lot of what makes life so special.
Questions to ponder:
1. Why might we not see the beauty in many of the everyday things in our lives?
2. When we expand our horizons to include appreciation for things we might not have noticed before, what happens to our lives?
3. Who teaches us what we should appreciate and what we shouldn’t? What does it take to learn for ourselves instead of following the ideas of others?
For further thought:
Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive – it’s such an interesting world.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Credits: Living Life Fully