About a year ago, I went with my family to this wedding. It was one of those “my parents are friends with the parents of the groom” sort of situations, and me, their child, somehow got roped into it.
The ceremony was in an old Cathedral, smelling of the elderly and incense, so devoid of air conditioning that the statues were practically sweating. That’s sort of what I was focusing on, and worrying that my skin would be ripped off my legs once I stood up because it was so sticky.
And then, about fifteen girls crowded in the pew behind us. All shrieking in loud whispers about the night before: the bachelorette party. The drama, the guys, the drinks, all of it. Way TMI and kind of annoying, if not heartbreaking.
In the midst of the analyzation of the previous evening’s events, one of them made a comment about how beautiful the Cathedral was. Another one agreed. They all started talking about the beauty of the Cathedral, speaking with a sort of reverence, with awe and wonder.
These women, from what I could tell, were not particularly religious; therefore, they had no religious reason to think that this Cathedral was beautiful. It wasn’t that they thought the tabernacle was just perfect, or that the statue of Mary perfectly embodied her gentleness and humility. They weren’t even talking about specific things that were beautiful. They were simply caught up in the beauty of the church as a whole.
Almost a year later, that’s stuck with me.
Because these women were so immersed in emptiness, in cycles that could only lead to confusion and destruction. And yet, they recognized true beauty when they saw it.
The human heart longs for beauty. It doesn’t matter where you’re at or what you’re involved in; the desire for beauty can’t be contained because it’s such a huge part of our hearts.
A stark contrast exists between the Cathedral, that holds nothing flashy, and the bachelorette party shenanigans. The conversation switch was drastic. There was a chaos in hearing about their lives; an emptiness filled with confusion in whether or not he would call after “everything that happened” compared to the wonder in the high ceilings that point to something even higher.
I wanted to turn around and tell them that as beautiful as the Cathedral was, their hearts contained even more beauty. That they could possess this beauty, if only they let it possess them. Because isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that what we’re searching for? To own beauty, to make it our own? To allow it to make us its own?
These women reminded me that we’re all longing for beauty. I heard it in their stories about their desire for guys to call and I heard it in the awe with which the spoke of the Cathedral.
As Christians, we’re in the business of offering people true beauty, that both lasts and satisfies. Of directing the longing to its source. Of choosing ourselves to recognize the priceless nature of our own hearts in realizing that only the beauty the Father offers is enough; this beauty which far outlasts the one-night stands and clubbing, whether those things are literal or metaphorical.
Like these girls, I’ve chased after things that could never satisfy me. I’ve chased dust, I’ve chased vapor, all while my heart has longed for beauty of substance.
It’s hard to give up the dust, because at least it’s something, anything, that makes us feel even for a second. It’s easy, it’s exciting, it’s fun. It’s hard to give it up, because true beauty satisfies, but it costs.
Maybe this is how we approach evangelization: not in trying to convince people and prove our points, with our briefcases filled with Theological facts and proofs, but in recognizing that every single human heart was created for beauty. They already want it, it’s just giving their disappointed hearts permission to want it.
We already want it, and wehave to give our hearts permission to want it even more. We have to approach beauty with wonder, welcoming it even more into our lives, because it’s there, pressing in. Or rather: welcoming Him into our lives, because He’s here, pressing in.
It’s what we all want: to let our hearts truly desire, knowing that our Father won’t ever let us down, that He sees and satisfies. To be caught up in a beauty that’s beyond the excitement of partying, and even beyond the aesthetics of a Cathedral.
We won’t ever win hearts until we let the King win our heart, until we let Him romance us with beauty. And in reality: we’re not supposed to win hearts. He already fought, He already won; and all we have to do is invite. And it makes it easier to invite when we know that the invitation is being longed for, whether the heart recognizes it or not.
Today, let’s embrace a spirit of wonder, at the beauty of the King that s bursting all around us. It’s bursting in the sky, in the grass, in the people around you: it’s all telling of the beauty of a King. A King who promises everything.