I (Matt) am just back from a week’s vacation in Yellowstone National Park with our youngest daughter, Mary Grace. It was an awesome father/daughter trip!
We both were struck with the incredible beauty we witnessed. From the Grand Teton Mountains on the southern edge of the park; to the deep gorge through which the Yellowstone River runs; to the magnificent bison that surrounded our car in Lamar Valley, to the grizzly bear we saw protecting a bison carcass from vultures; to the numerous hot springs and geysers that spew gas, steam, and water (including Old Faithful of course), we literally were overpowered with the beauty of God’s creation.
St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that taking in beauty is a natural good that brings peace to the human soul. We certainly found that to be true – peace and joy were very much part of our experience there. And that is what I want to focus on in this issue of WealthNotes – the role that beauty can play in the quest all of us are on to live great lives. Whether it’s a beautiful work of art, an incredible symphony, a beautiful Cathedral in Europe, or a natural wonder somewhere in the world, allowing ourselves to encounter beauty will prove to be a rich blessing in our lives.
For some years now I have started most of my days with an early morning walk at a nearby park (with our dog Ike, a 100 lb. Bernese Mountain dog!). I love watching the early morning sun rising over the trees and the Alum Creek River – the views of nature are spectacular. And, like my trip last week to Yellowstone, I find that absorbing that kind of beauty is a wonderful way to fill my heart with peace and joy. I also spend some of that time praying and singing – which in combination with the natural beauty provide a great foundation from which to start my day.
As you strive to live a great life, how can you experience some kind of beauty each day?