new year

Beauty Saves


My daughter is beautiful, stunningly beautiful.

The above picture I believe captures her natural beauty, personality, character, innocence and playfulness. I realize that my interpretation of her beauty is subjective. You may think that my daughter is cute, but find that your child is actually the most gorgeous in the world. And so it goes with every parent on the planet. It is easy to be blown away by our children’s beauty. To be captivated by beauty of any kind is necessary to all of humanity. This is why we need great paintings, music and films. We need beauty to captivate us, inspire us, and move us from complacency to action, to transformation. As one of my favorite authors, Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “Beauty will save the world.”

It does. It has. And it will continue to do so.

I had never really thought about beauty as a saving power. Since the birth of my daughter this has changed. I am surrounded by many beautiful things my wife being one of thee most beautiful. Even though beauty surrounds me often I tend to ignore it, or not allow it to drive me towards transformation.

I used to drive across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the state of Maryland all the time. The view from that bridge is pretty spectacular. On one side you have a great shot of Washington DC that is postcard worthy. On the other side sits the National Harbor, which has become a visual masterpiece, particularly at night with its lights. Most of the time my focus was on the traffic that builds up on the bridge. Not postcard worthy. Getting to work on time and wishing I could live closer to work were the usual domination thoughts and focus as I slowly crossed this bridge. Beauty literally flanked me and these were my thoughts.

We do this often.

We put on the blinders and push through because we have deadlines, places to be, and people to meet. Yet, beauty continues to call on us; to draw us in so that we can seize to be complacent; to move us into action; to transform us. Beauty asks us to slow down. To see. To listen. To gaze. Life is too good and too beautiful to be lived at 90 mph. If we want to enjoy it we have to take it in, slowly. Driving past the Mona Lisa is very different than standing in front of it for a while.

This is why a relationship with God (the originator of all that is beautiful) necessarily requires that we slow down, listen and spend time in His presence—what I would call gazing. Beauty draws us into an intimate place where we are able to see, listen and gaze, but it also draws out the gifts we have been given. Beauty stirs within us and in that stirring those gifts surface. We recognize these gifts and are challenged to use them. Action. Transformation. My daughter has helped me in this tremendously. All it takes is a moment in front of her and beauty moves me.

A new year lies ahead of us. We can chose to put the blinders on and go through it as if it were a race to be run. Or, we can allow ourselves to be stirred by the beauty that surrounds us, because “Beauty will save the world”. It does. It has. And it will continue to do so.

Categories: art, beauty, daughters, fatherhood, focus, God, new year, Transformation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Year


2013 was an amazing year for our family. Our daughter Claire was born which was the biggest blessing of all. It’s hard to remember life before her. 2013 was good and as I look forward to 2014 there are some things I’ve been thinking about that need to be worked out within me.  Here are my top 6 things that I need to work on as a father and husband:

  1. Do not add more to the plate – It seems that many people add things to do to their already, too full plates. I for one am not adding anything. I have barely done what was on the plate! I am going to improve on the things that I have failed or never really acted out on.
  2. Waste time – Pope Francis recently said in an interview that we should, “Waste time with our children”. When I first read this I wasn’t sure what it meant. For me, it means that instead of trying to do something “productive” with my daughter—whatever that means—I should simply hangout with her. The times when I am able to simply hang out and lay around with her are usually the best moments. I’ve written about this before but still haven’t gotten it down.
  3. Exercise & eat healthy– So cliché! I’m not a New Years resolution gym person. I’ve had a gym membership for a long time. The problem is I have not really used that membership. The “I just had a baby” excuse is so 9 months ago. I find myself tired, lazy and unenergetic and I know its because my body is a lump of squishy flesh. The other problem is I love Chinese Buffets. Heaven will have one of these I am sure of it! My food intake is ridiculous and is another reason I am so tired and lazy…and squishy.
  4. Romantic– My wife is a beautiful and sexy woman (she is turning bright red as she reads this). I am a very lucky man. I use to be very romantic. I don’t really know what’s happened. I think part of the issues is that I have gotten comfortable, meaning I am taking what I have for granted. It shames me to say this, but its true. I need to woo my wife everyday, let her know that I love and think of her often. The date night is a good start, but romance needs to be daily. I don’t mean bringing roses every night after work, but small little ways that show her how crazy I am about her.
  5. Be intentional – So much of our lives are spent half-assing things. Whether its working out (hence the squishiness), reading to the kids, etc, etc. I don’t know about you but I hate it. I want to be intentional! I want to give a 100% of myself to what I am doing all the time. It is what makes the difference in all we do.
  6. The ‘Me Monster’ – Brian Regan’s famous “Me Monster” act talks about a person who is constantly steering the conversation towards himself. I find that I am a sort of “Me Monster”. I want things my way all the time and my way isn’t really that great. 2014 has to be less about me, and more about spending time with friends and family. I need to do things that help others and are not so focused on me. I’ve written about this…but am so not there yet.

2014 has to be better in the above areas. All of the above mentioned things affect my family. To be the father and husband I am called to be requires that these 6 things be done well in my life. You may have a similar list and you need to do those things to be the man or woman your family needs you to be.

I pray 2014 may be the year we do these things a little better. Happy New Year everyone!

Categories: fatherhood, home and family, new year, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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