Beauty in Everyday Situations and Things

But we need to learn how to see it.

The glory of the Lord is everywhere on display. The Christian’s task, at least in part, is to make that glory known, to celebrate the beauty and magnificence of God in all the ordinary and extraordinary ways that glory is on display at all times. 

Writing would seem to be a logical and most useful discipline for such a calling, if only Christian writers could achieve the kind of observation, description, and skill required to bring the glory of God to light. We who so aspire can learn from any writers, Christian or otherwise, who might help us hone our skills and improve our craft.

As Denny Heitman reports in the March 30, 2015 issue of The Weekly Standard, one such writer might be L. E. Sissman (“Darkness Visible: L. E. Sissman, poet in a gray flannel suit”). Sissman took his inspiration from everyday things at his office, in his home, and around town, avoiding “the bland generality in favor of the telling particular”. He insisted “on planting a cosmic moment within the quirky little textures of the temporal realm.” He was a master of language and an appreciator of humble, ordinary, but meaningful and beautiful things. His writings “brim with lyrical reflections on everything from farmer’s almanacs to family dogs to antique clocks.”

He made a sacrament of the ordinary, much in the way Alexander Schmemann expresses the idea in For the Life of the World. This is the kind of writing that might teach believers and unbelievers alike to recognize beauty and transcendence in even the most everyday situations and things.


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