Sunday, May 26, 2013


A friend of mine recently joined a group called the G.K. Chesterton Society.  From what I understand, it is essentially a book club to read and discuss Chesterton's writing.  I am not part of the society, but have encountered Chesterton quotes in numerous books I've been reading of late.

One quote in particular sticks out for me right now.  It begins by discussing how many of us, as adults, don't value repetition, and may see it as deadening. This is in contrast to children, who love repetition.  How many of us have read the same book over and over to a child and each time the child squeals with delight? How many of us can still remember the words of a favorite story read to us decades ago?  Chesterton writes:

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence of life. Because children have unbounding vitality, because they are spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say "Do it again." It may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that [God] has the eternal appetite of infancy, for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

Reading this quote transported me to the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands and the literally millions of (mostly) tulips blooming there in the spring.  What delight God must have had creating each flower and then seeing them join together in breath-taking beauty.  Here are just a few examples:

The excess of beauty that God gives us astounds me at times.  A few weeks ago, as I walked down the sidewalk, I walked through a sea of flower petals that had fallen from the tree above.  The ground was covered in pink; the tree was still full of flowers.

That level of generous beauty surrounds us, if we take the time to notice, particularly this time of year, but I think in any time of year, it is present.  Perhaps it comes through the color of the sky, the sound of the birds, the taste of a strawberry, the smell of honeysuckle, the touch of the grass under our feet.  And that is only what God provides for us.  Many of us are surrounded by friends and family offering us gestures and tokens of beauty: a smile, a word of kindness, a home-made meal, a cup of tea, a hug.  Simple ways to create beauty, gestures that leave us with a sense of "Do it again! Encore!" if we take the time to notice. Symbols and acts that soothe our soul and keep us young in the way God remains young through the act of creation.

May we all experience beauty in the repetition we find in nature and in the repetition we find in our lives.   May we all provide repetitive acts of beauty for each other. May we come together through beauty to create something more breath-taking together than we could by ourselves. 

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