Sunday, June 20, 2010

When Beauty fades...Beauty without idolatry. (Not for young readers)

Part I

What woman doesn't enjoy tending to a neat and lovely appearance, creating a pretty haven around her, and enjoying the breathtaking beauties that God has painted into nature? Our creator has surrounded us with beauty in such quantities we can scarcely take it all in: sunrises and sunsets, oceans, beaches, mountains, birds, flowers, fruit, smiles, children, the love between a man and wife, the wonders of God's word; hands that evidence a lifetime of productive work....the list goes on endlessly. And, that is only in our temporal world. We cannot fathom the beauties that await the faithful in heaven.

I occasionally like to read articles about style, fashion, decorating, crafts, and cooking -- things that will help me to put loveliness and love into the things that I do. (Or, at least these things would if I always put the good advice into practice!) Obviously, I blog about those things as well, for taking care of our and our families' health, appearance, and clothing is part of keeping a home.

Recently, however, I read excerpts from two writings about finding your own personal style that left me feeling cold. I wasn't sure why at first. Then, I realized that the intent of these writings went beyond fashion help. The authors presented style as something by which you can create your entire world as you wish it to be, if only you have enough self-understanding. They intimated that style was the heart of everything we do and the reason for doing it. They also suggested that our self as expressed by our style is our guide to every area of life, including relationships.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if you make style your platform on which to stand in life, the ever-shifting planks will eventually collapse and you will fall. Learning and expressing our style is fine as far as it goes. However, if we ask style to be more than it is -- if we ask it to be the standard by which we live our lives and the idol for which we live -- it will crumple under the weight of so much false hope. Style means nothing in the face of tragedy and death, and it adds nothing of substance to the greatest of our joys. We do best to let it be what it is -- the glitter, the wrapping paper, and the icing of life.

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