Beauty is to the spirit what food is to the flesh. A glimpse of it in a young face, say, or an echo of it in a song fills an emptiness in you that nothing else under the sun can. Unlike food, however, it is something you never get your fill of. It leaves you always aching with longing not so much for more of the same as for whatever it is, deep within and far beyond both it and yourself, that makes it beautiful.
I had taken a brief hiatus posting beauty quotes as we were hit with the difficult task of moving Mom into a nursing home this past Monday. She is only 67, but she has Lewy Body Dementia and it is progressing rapidly. I know that there is much to say, much to be written, about this journey we’re on with Mom. I believe that there is beauty buried in this gut-wrenching living grief, but I haven’t landed there yet. What I do know is that my Mom is a beauty and it radiates from her even with this terrible illness. One day at the nursing home and she is trying to help the other residents (though they can’t understand each other), over-thanking the nurses, and considering how she might make her very sterile room a little more inviting.
But this aching with longing that Buechner uses to describe the effect of beauty? Sounds a lot like grief to me.