"No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly." J.R.R. Tolkien


things i love about the summer

-berry stained fingers
-starry nights
-dewy grass
-baseball games
-tromps through the woods
-laughing till your sides hurt
-bullfrogs + crickets
-bike rides to ice cream places
-the first rays of sun in the morning
-stories + jokes
-the sound of pouring rain
-deep conversations about the things that matter
-canoeing adventures
-berry tarts
-homemade popcorn
-warm sunshine
-fresh lemonade on a hot day
-driving fast down dirt roads
-the things kids say 
-movie nights
-handwritten letters
-juicy strawberries freshly picked
-bonfires + s'mores
-random texts from friends saying "how r u"
-and random calls that last late into the night
-frisbee with the best people
-baby chicks
-excited dogs
-more reading
-evenings at the lake
-beautiful souls and beautiful minds

||“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”||


O Beauty Ancient

[this is just a feeble attempt to express something of my thoughts and discoveries lately as i've been reading and pondering. it's kind of a jumble. but i tried to write something because this is the stuff that stirs my soul.]

"is not all earthly loveliness the shadow of something infinitely greater? ...friendship, the joys of marriage, the thrill of possession, the sunset and the evening star, masterpieces of art and music, the gold and silver of earth, the industries and the comforts of life, are all the gifts of God.  He dropped them on the roadway of life, to remind you that if these are so beautiful, then what must be Beauty! If the spark of human love is so bright, then what must be the Flame!"  || Fulton Sheen, Remade for Happiness

You know that feeling when you see something so incredibly beautiful that it makes you catch your breath, like when you come around a curve on a mountain road and the whole valley stretches out beneath you, hazy and beckoning and just oh-so-lovely? or when you have a profound thought and realize some connection you never realized before, and all these unfinished ideas tumbling around in your head suddenly make sense.  Or when you read something so heroic like the Tale of Two Cities with Syndey Carton's heart-rending sacrifice "it is a far far better thing that i do than i have ever done. it is a far far better rest that i go to than i have ever known."  but it doesn't leave you satisfied.  it leaves you with a poignant longing.  it's like the little bit of beauty was just a glimpse, the tiniest glimpse, of the grandeur and love of God. 

all these little glimpses and shadows of the true reality are little bridges God has placed to lead us to Himself.  to lead us up out of darkness toward the light.  out of the cave into the real sunlight.  

isn't it amazing?  that's why that glorious sunset spread out over the blue hazy hills in pink and purple and gold strikes that deep, resonant chord within you.  you are filled with "a nostalgia, a yearning, for something more beautiful still." [fulton sheen]

C.S. Lewis wrote in the Weight of Glory, "We do not want to merely “see” beauty -- though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

to be united to true Beauty.  that is our deepest desire.

but how do we do that?

that's what Christianity is all about, right? the INCARNATION. Christ becoming man and redeeming us so we can now be united with Him.  this process of becoming one with God that begins right here and now on earth.  C.S Lewis at the end of the Four Loves talks about it, but what's incredible is that it's a process of converting our natural loves into Charity, into perfect love.  God entering our hearts and not substituting His Divine love for our human loves, but summoning them "to become modes of Charity while also remaining the natural loves they were."

and why is this transformation, this conversion, so important?  C.S. Lewis says "nothing can enter [heaven] which cannot become heavenly. 'Flesh and blood,' mere nature, cannot inherit that Kingdom.  Man can ascend to Heaven only because the Christ, who died and ascended to Heaven, is 'formed in him.' Must we not suppose that the same is true of a man's loves? Only those into which Love Himself has entered will ascend to Love Himself."
"And these can be raised with Him only if they have, in some degree and fashion, shared His death"

Our natural loves have to be taken into the eternity of Charity while on earth.  "and this process will always involve a kind of death. There is no escape. In my love for wife or friend the only eternal element is the transforming presence of Love Himself. By that presence, if at all, the other elements may hope, as our physical bodies hope, to be raised from the dead.  For this only is holy in them, this only is the Lord."

Going through a kind of death sounds intimidating. but doesn't it actually give us incredible hope? for all those "frictions and frustrations" that meet us in all of our loves, all those times we were like 'if only... this person would understand' or 'if only... they wouldn't be so selfish' they actually give us the opportunity to purify our natural, human loves. to get closer to the Divine Charity. to listen to Christ's words to take up our cross and follow Him. through all the imperfections we go through and all the sufferings, like gold being tried by fire, we can one day arrive at that perfect union with God we all long for in the deepest part of our hearts.  

....and this blows my mind.

all those shadows of the infinite around us everyday, they point us to the true Perfection.  the beauty of a summer morning, a kind word, the realization of some truth... they create a yearning in our heart. But this is a yearning that can be satisfied.  It will be satisfied only by us being drawn into Love Himself.

"He has made, sustained, and moved moment by moment within, all our earthly experiences of innocent love. All that was true love in them was, even on earth, far more His than ours, and ours only because His." [c.s. lewis, the four loves]


"you don't find yourself until you lose yourself in christ" || jpii