Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time….”
I’m a firm believer beauty has a way of stimulating us toward a more generous thought life. It lifts us above the petty and connects us with Something bigger. I think that accounts for what happened to me in the checkout line….
We were at Acadia National Park in Maine. The rugged pink granite summit of Cadillac Mountain displays God’s extravagant handiwork to me as do few other places. After taking it all in, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things. My husband was already in line when I joined him with a couple more items. It meant going ahead of the woman behind him. I realized immediately my action did not set well with her. She grumbled something under her breath. I could almost feel the darts piercing my back.
In situations like this I try to just brush off the negativity. Not this time. When our turn came to check out, I turned to this angry, disgruntled woman and insisted she go before us. She initially refused, but then placed her two quarts of milk on the counter ahead of us and said, “I’m just in a lot of pain.” It was then I noticed her leg brace. “I was struck by a drunk driver. My leg shattered in fifteen places and I’m still recovering after numerous operations.” As we empathized with her, she continued to tell us her story. We no longer saw her as an irritable customer accusing us of cutting in line, but as a hurting woman in need of grace.
She had a back story.
Everyone we meet has a back story. A story that explains why they’re grumpy or bossy or controlling. And although our past experiences never justify sin, taking the time to discover someone’s back story goes a long way in diffusing conflict and promoting peace.
You see, I had my own back story that day. Being immersed in the splendor of Acadia had connected me with the back story behind all beauty…with God. It prepared me to meet a bit of ugliness with a gracious spirit.
Don’t neglect the gift of beauty from our Creator. Soak in those early morning sunrises, those starry nights, those lofty mountain panoramas. Then extend something beautiful to those around you who might have a not so pretty back story.