Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beauty of Spirit...

One of the things I think sets me apart from the majority or typical male around my age is something I am most proud of. It is that I find beauty not so much in the visual or physical appearance of a person or people, but in their being, spirit and mind.

A friend of mine, Susan, has a phrasing she uses:
Seeing the world through our spiritual eyes.
One of the things I often quite appalling in my own circle is that a number of my friends base their romantic intentions entirely on "Yea, but she's hott".
While in my own relationship, though I thoroughly admit to being physically attracted to her (comparable to being knock on my bottom), I am attracted to who my girlfriend is and that is what makes me want her romantically.
I mean, I have a number of sexy friend, whether they be male or female is a non-issue, but I'd much rather spend quality time with someone than stare at their fine figure.
But again, this isn't romance and this isn't sex. I may get into that later, though.

No, this is about general beauty of spirit.

Now, what brought this one was I was watching some videos on Vimeo earlier when I came across a video posted by Mars Hill of what appeared to be a real walk for water by a group of Rwandan people.

Upon first glance, this may seem a primitive group of African people in modern day forced to walk miles for water. But watching it, I saw something more.
These are not primitive people. Look at them. They dress like us, give or take some cultural differences. They have machinery that filters their water. They clean their feet before putting on shoes.
What caught my eyes, or rather my throat, is that they are not primitive, they are beautiful and proud.
Now, this is in a country on a massive wild continent torn by decade aged wars and chaos.
But watching a video of people having to walk miles for water, I am not emotionally struck by their poverty. I am emotionally stricken by their pride, their spirits and their beauty as a community.
Many women hold their jars of water on their head. Some of them, particularly a pair of older women, literally balance the water on top of their head without effort.
Along their walk they sing.
Some of them are seen with wide smiles on their faces. (I think that's partly because one of them was safe under her parasol)

Now, a year ago I went on a mission trip to an Indian Reservation in New Mexico. It was the middle of bloody no where, literally a hole in the ground surrounded by higher plateau and cliffs, couldn't get a cellular signal to save your life (not so reassuring) and it was the most beautiful place in the world.
A few of us (gringos) went for a hike up the nearest mountain with a young woman named Candice, who was native, and we made it nearly the top of the cliff.
Now, on this trip I had been descending into a deeper depression after a certain bit of drama kind of opened the flood gates on the way down there, but that was not stopping my resolve. I wanted to get to the top and mind you there was land mark I had set in my head to touch.
There was a cross on the summit of the plateau that sat kind of lopsided, stuck in a pile of rocks heavy enough to trebuchet me from that cliff to perhaps the next nearest mountain.
Well, in my resolve me and Candice, and her sisters and cousin, walked aroudn the cliff until we found a nice bit of cliff that rigged enough to climb up and so we did.
There I was, standing on top of this mountain overlooking miles of native American wilderness, developed only by the select few who, perhaps not as wealthy as us, natives who lived on this land.
It was the most beautiful place I had ever been and I just couldn't get over it.
It was like a place of spiritual rest and invigoration.
In that week during which I had been hurt and thrown back into a mess of emotional unrest, I found spiritual peace on top of a mountain in the middle of the American wasteland.
Me, a guy who blogs semi-weekly, does a video blog weekly, carries an iPod, digital camera and a flash drive with him where ever he goes and owns a Macintosh and a hacked to death PC climbs up a mountain where there is no cellular signal, where he has no camera, no iPod, no electronic device and there he looks around him and sees everything from horizon to horizon and in that place there is nothing else he wants but to stay there forever.

I'm a techie, I'm a hipster and I need my phone and my camera and you MacBook Pro. But I would give it all up to be at a place as spiritual and peaceful as that.

I think there is something we lose when we gain so much. It's not something we can't regain and I'm definitely not saying that having a lot is bad. I mean, I'm talking about this through Blogging, clearly I appreciate this technological crap.

When we become used to all the things we have we become biased. We forget the appreciation for the little things or the pride of the skills we don't use anymore.
In massive cities privacy is something we all have, but in a small town like this it's a little hard. But I don't care, I have nothing to hide and if the locals think I'm crazy or weird, they're right. I appreciate the community and I appreciate the group of unique and non-stereotypical individuals I have come to know as my friends.

I appreciate the beauty that this desolate area has to offer. The cloudy violet sunrises, the doves and cardinals, the suburbs and their charms. And I appreciate the unparalleled beauty of that plateau in New Mexico or the wilderness in New York and the industrial city in NYC.

Something we all are guilty of missing is he beauty in the people and the events in our.
As Christian, I try my utmost best to see through spiritual eyes. As human being, I try my best to see others with compassion and mercy.
Sometimes, I fail. Sometimes I don't forget that they are human but I speak with hatred and act in discontent. That's all me.
But I do believe that true beauty is something born in us all and that often times that beauty is cluttered with a bunch of crap, the crap we get with all the bias, material and modernization.

Those people in Rwanda would give a lot to have the house I live in, with running hot and cold water, especially, I know. But I would give a lot to have the community and pride that they have and to share their beauty.

And that cliff where I stood with Candice, unable to stifle my rambling, I would never write another blog, make another video or even send a another text message so long as I could exist in a place like that.

Big words for a blogger, but it's true.

So I've rambled on enough for this morning so I will bid you a do.

Shalom and may God bless,
Brent Matthew Lillard

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