Ordinary Beauty VI: health

Our culture does not value beauty beyond its relationship to function or earning power. Girls are taught to pursue careers and earn good money; they are taught to develop a career before they consider marriage and family. Men seek wives who can add a solid second paycheck; men used to seek wives who had the skills to create a beautiful home for a family. There was a time when the beauty created by home makers was valued. Girls were taught the skills and could expect to have those skills valued.  Those days are long gone.

Our culture glorifies the career by high value on earning ability and almost no value at all on the work of creating the ordinary beauty of a home that nurtures the health of a family.

IMG_1219(Salt brine fermentation of cabbage, carrots, diakon radish, and various fresh spices)

Health suffers for lack of beauty.

The skills of cooking from scratch, from natural, whole foods do not increase a paycheck. Meal creation is an art and a skill; meal creation produces ordinary beauty. Without the beauty of good cooking there is a decrease in health and an increase in obesity.

Sports are a form of beauty. Athleticism has become a spectator sport, rife with drugs and scandals. The skill of a batter, the skill of a pitcher, these were beautiful once. Playing team sports was something almost every child did– and they were active outside everyday.

Children and adults created a beautiful community when they came together to play games. Jumping rope taught cooperation and the drive for excellence. Jumping rope was beautiful. Baseball taught the beauty of working together to a goal and how to value the contributions of others. The competition taught the beauty of success and how to use failure as a stepping-stone to improvement.

Dance is a form of beauty that aided physical and social health. People gathered together to enjoy movement and music. Beautiful music that went with beautiful dances like Waltzes and Tangos.

IMG_1398(a folk instrument called an autoharp, with several colorful crocks of fermenting sauerkraut)

Music is a beauty that used to bring people together in an active way. People did not only listen to music but they MADE their own beauty with it. Fewer and fewer people play any instrument well enough to share it.

Our culture tells us that if we cannot make money with music, dance, sports, cooking, then we should not waste time learning to be good at it. We are telling our young people that beauty is only worth working at if we can turn it into a paycheck.

Dear God, please wake us up to the value of beauty. Teach us to love the work of becoming good at something that enhances quality of life, health, and community but will not ever make us any money. Teach us to love beauty enough to make it and share it with others. +Amen.


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