One of the things that keeps me coming back for more with running is that crazy, half-hallucinatory state of meditation that just kind of “happens” when you’re sufficiently zoned out, sometime between miles 4 and 7.
A few days ago, pushing my blue Bob slowly and short-breathedly up the hill of a winding deadend in our sleepy little neighborhood, it struck me:
Beauty is the fruit of labor.
It is the result of hard work.
Every single thing that is beautiful requires labor.
A long distance run is beautiful in its own right. It leaves a golden memory behind… an amalgamation of crunching leaves, precious breezes, blurred images of quiet front lawns, rhythmic footsteps, and stills of wildlife – shy rabbits, the occasional deer, and countless quarreling squirrels.
And that beautiful memory takes work.
Having a beautiful, healthy body – one that you really love and appreciate – takes a lot of work and constant nurture. It requires thoughtfulness and intention.
The way I’ve been laboring lately, during naptime:
It’s my effort at cheap cross-training.
A beautiful mind requires even more labor… Time dedicated to “extensive reading”, as Mr Darcy says… To mediation… To prayer. It requires the labor of discipline in guarding against vicious, self-centered, shallow thoughts and feelings. It requires an intentional way of living… an awareness of how you are spending the time that is given to you, what memories you are filling this season with.
A beautiful home, obviously, takes so much constant work. Inside and out. Each run in our neighborhood reminds me more of how badly our yard needs to be mowed or raked or filled with flowering plants. With each foray into the daydreamy world of Pinterest, I realize anew just how much work that particular beauty needs.
And true beauty is never achieved through a valiant, one-time effort, but rather through patience, remembrance, and the quiet constancy of habit.
Labor, discipline, intention, passion, purpose, patience… Beauty – the real, deep, soul-stirring kind – is truly the reward of virtue.
As a mother, the most overwhelming and exciting part of my vocation, is the knowledge of the role I play in bringing moments of beauty to my child’s life… I want to veritably surround him with beauty.
From the moment he wakes up, sunlight peeking through his gauzey blue drapes,
to the moment his little eyelids drop in his clean, cozy crib… I want his childhood to be filled with happy, hazy, golden memories.
It’s a goal worth running toward.