Beauty in Odd Places

"One aspect of the battlefields of World War II was the profusion of .50-caliber empties. In any place where the going was heavy, the terrain was asparkle with brightly gleaming cartridge cases. You could also see this extravagance from the air. I was particularly impressed by it at Guam when, just as the landing craft started in, the F6s went for the beach, and up there against that beautiful blue sky each airplane was suddenly accompanied by a shower of gold as it commenced strafing. This is one of those rare things in war that is not sufficiently enjoyed." ~ Jeff Cooper, Thoughts From the Gunner's Guru, Guns & Ammo, v. 49 no. 2

Imagine this soldier, coming to land under heavy fire on some foreign beach where hundreds of thousands of his comrades had already perished, looking up to admire the sky and notice the gleam of sunlight on the gold shell casings falling from far above! Whenever life seems difficult, I am always reminded, in some little way, that my situation is pleasant in comparison to so many others. I have not been at war. I have not lost a child, or even a parent yet. I eat well every day. I admire beautiful landscapes all around my home, cool my home in summer and heat it in winter without batting an eye. I never wonder what I will feed my children, or how I will dress them, or if I will be able to educate them. I don't even have to worry about going back to work outside the home myself. This vignette from one of our veterans amazed me. I cannot imagine finding beauty in the wasteland of war, ever thinking anything I observed there was "not sufficiently enjoyed". How insightful of this man, young at the time he observed this beauty, to notice the dichotomy of death and life, beauty and ugliness, good and evil, and especially to see how closely the two co-exist. The shell casings were harbingers of death for one group of men, and a shower of safety to another.

My cancer is a harbinger of my eventual death, but it is also a reminder of my eternal destiny. I am thankful to find beauty in odd places; I am thankful to be reminded that my "days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more." (Psalm 103:15-16) Yet...

“I know Whom I have believed,

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.”

I know not what of good or ill

May be reserved for me,

Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
~Daniel W. Whittle

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV