On Moral Beauty

It’s so empty, the world I look upon. And I’m so small, sitting on this ledge. I lay upon a slab of concrete that hangs above the valley.

I lean back and look into the vast night sky. A dim light, higher than I think a plane would fly, drifts across my vision.

Medicine, by Gus Dapperton, plays through my headphones. Gus represents a powerful chapter of my life, the backdrop to the experiences that led me here.

Now I’m here, and there are new songs which I’ll look back on that will make me think of now. That’s the wonder of music.

It’s so much more than just the words we hear.

This song brings tears to my eyes as I look into the darkening sky.

I imagine if that is a plane and someone’s looking down, and in their ears the same song plays, and somehow, with a unique life experience, mind, soul and perspective, there’s something shared between us. The ability to feel.

I think striving to be good, a friend, a helpful soul, is the only way to pass through life in peace. Because we all know what it means to feel pain.

I’m reading The Heart of Emerson’s Journals, a collection of passages taken from the journals of the 19th-century poet, thinker and leader, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It’s heartening to read the all-too-human thoughts of Emerson — as a young man, he doubted himself, his capabilities, his place in the world.

Still, he felt that more important than striving for success was the striving to be good.

Emerson speaks on what he calls moral beauty:

Moral beauty is lovely, imperishable, perfect… I would freely give all I ever hoped to be, even when my air-blown hopes were brilliant and glorious, - not as now - to have given down that sweet strain to posterity to do good in a golden way….

I wonder what the real motives are for the decisions that I make — any of it — why I’m really here. Is it really to discover something of myself, or prove something to the world?

I’m human. Maybe these two words can harmonize both pursuits. But what is there to prove?

I don’t want to bear the weight of a grudge. I’ll feel it. The weight is there.

Even when I feel I’m wronged, or I’m embarrassed, or my pride is hurt — I pray for the strength to let go, and smile. The choice is ours to pick up the weight and carry it like a stone.

Because you’re human, too. I don’t know what it is you’re going through.

I don’t want to be perfect. I couldn’t be. I’ll simply do the best I can in the moments I’m presented with a choice.

To ease the pain, or not. In others, and myself.

It’s so full, this world I look upon. And I’m so small, sitting on this ledge.

No Comments

I'd love to hear your thoughts!