Digging For Beauty

There are some things people say that make my eyes roll way back up inside my head if I’m not of a mind to hear them.
It’s not on purpose:
it’s knee-jerk eye-rolling.
‘If the Lord brings you to it, He will see you through it.’
‘The Lord only gives you what you can handle.’
‘Having gratitude will fix that attitude.’
These are all so true.
I cannot say it enough.
They’re just not so helpful for someone sitting right in the middle of a fire at the moment.
What I really desire is so much cold water, and not well-meaning platitudes, to ease the heat off my backside immediately.
But cutting away dead things that don’t belong, like impatience or selfishness say, requires work…just as mind-numbing as growing faithfulness or perseverance.
The verb of carving concerning character implies some pain at the cutting, doesn’t it?
And so I try.
I really try to be thankful for hard things.
The year passing has been one in which God is tilling up…everything in my heart.
To say I am already tender is the truth ever spoken.
And change is hard on a girl that grew up knowing control as safety.
I try my face off in the middle of a move where everything and everyone is bruised, and then one evening our dog decides to take flight out of the second story window of my daughter’s window limping away with only a lame paw and a prescription for pain meds that leave her stomach the likes of a mess you have never seen.
To top off all things she prefers only my new office to relieve her woes.
The entire perimeter.
Of a space I am creating as a sanctuary for writing some words.
Lined in poo.
I try to be thankful in this situation because that is what I am supposed to do.
My daddy once told my seventeen year-old arm-crossed and be-smirked self that he hated smart-alecks just about worse than anything. At that particular time in my formative years, I did what any rebellious teenager would do and I became the biggest smart aleck my daddy had ever seen.
Almost on the spot…it seems I always had a knack.
Thank You, Lord? That I have warm shelter for a dog to crap in?
Thank You, Lord? That she is down to 7 instead of 32 times a day?
Thank You that I have food, God.
I am terrible at this.
I know the blessings. I am acutely aware and full of thanks for the love of a good man and the health of my children and the incredible ability to see and hear and every single one of my basic needs being met.
I desperately need my heart to connect with my brain in the practice of thanks for hard things even while I understand the ‘practice’ part is the choosing gratitude 4 zillion times a day.
As my husband left for work one morning, we discussed the day’s plans and I declared the full extent of my plans: ‘I am going to be looking for good today.’
With boxes all around, I grabbed our stinky, lame mutt…and took a glorious nap.
I declared it Good.
And it felt like a little healing to me.
I took the kids to the park after school and I documented some Good I found on Instagram:



And I kept at the practice throughout the weekend. I notice on a bike ride and walk with my girls that when they get to laughing really hard and they can’t catch their breath? Neither can I. My teenage son and I have about 45 minutes of the gift of time together after I drop the girls off every day for school. I watched him watch me as I explained the life importance of ordering chive and onion cream cheese (not plain) for his everything bagel but to make sure and ‘take this gum to school with you’ or his friends would be tasting his breath all day.

I find a quiet spot and drink warm things and read hot words.


I find my daughter being a good mama:


On a day when maybe beauty isn’t floating right on top of the surface? I buy myself flowers to remind myself:
it is there.
And this reminding myself?
It’s Beauty, too.


I am slow to learn…but a stubborn student.

I had been looking to feel thankful. The problem with feelings…is another blog post for a different day, eh?
Even knowing eventually I would get there, I needed something.
My digging for beauty in a day didn’t say there was no fire:
it simply made room for the real presence of both.
If real Beauty, as has been suggested, is God’s thumbprint…in essence, I am looking for Him.
And even if in the harder moments my lips have trouble forming the words, my soul tips its hat respectfully to the Author…and falls to its knees in wonder at my softer ones.
And this begins to ease the burn for me.
Not ignoring the too-hot for giving thanks for a place to sit…
But looking for the good that still goes on in spite of the fire.
Life is full of both, you know.
We may as well make peace with both.

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  1. Jamie S. Harper | 19th Jan 16

    Deep sigh. Me too! Good reminders to look for Good and Beauty in the hard. Thank you. Hugs from the Internet for being my kinda people. ❤️?

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Jan 16

      Hi. Friend. With me. Thank you so much for this. I am so THANKFUL we are people. Things are settling down now…about that phone date. Love you, Mama.

  2. Susan Roberts | 19th Jan 16

    By the time I got to the last sentence of this blog post, I had tears streaming down my face. I’m not sure why you stirred up such emotion in me, but I’m grateful for it. We, too, are facing a time of change and new beginnings. I guess I really needed to be reminded to give thanks in the midst of it all. Thank you, sweet girl, for sharing your gift with all of us.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Jan 16

      Now you make me cry. It sounds so weird, but I went back and read what I wrote just so I could be with you in this again. And then I read that you moved…and I thought about you all day. And I prayed for you and Hal. And I just love you. One day, we will be able to sit across from each other and we will talk for a really long time and maybe I will be able to articulate what you have meant to me and what it means to me to hear from you and the encouragement that you have given me. I sure love you.

  3. Keasha Alexander | 19th Jan 16

    Sister! I am drowning in your ocean of deepness! I get what you are laying down, but I am over here in my kiddie pool with my floaties on, tryin to absorb and soak in all this goodness!!!!! So eloquent, and surrounded by dog poo, none-the-less!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Jan 16

      Girl. It is SO good to hear from you. So good. Thank you for sweet, generous words. I had to read them twice…they paint such a picture of what it feels like. Keep swimming, Mama. I am WITH you. Sure love hearing from you.

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