“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
Like many of us, I was drawn to beauty as a child.
I remembered once I had a greeting card on which there was a watercolour painting of a forest with a brook running from afar, and a deer was drinking from the stream. That card was my treasure. I would stare at that image a thousand times, imagining myself strolling in that forest and befriend the adorable creature. It made me feel calm and happy, as if an invitation to another magical world where there was only light and beauty.
I loved all the beautiful things, a pink dress in the store, a wild yellow flower, fairy tales from Christian Andersen and Brothers Grimm, and of course, a Miyazaki Hayao movie.
However, like many of us, as I grew, I started to experience many not-so-beautiful things in life— the sickness of my family members, the financial struggles, the death of my grandparents and later, my dad in my teenage years.
It didn’t take long for me to learn that the world we live in sometimes is the farthest from that magical world of beauty I dreamed of living.
Tired of seeing the adults in my life making a bargain for everything and profoundly dissatisfied and unhappy, one day, I made a resolution. I wrote it down in my Dear Diary: “I refuse to live like those adults when I grow up. I want to live a beautiful life. Please help me!”
It looked like a prayer, I suppose, except I had no clue to whom I was talking.
I’ve been writing on my blog every week for one year and eight months and counting. I’m content to see how far I’ve come in this little internet corner of mine.
Writing on my blog has enabled me to process life, share valuable lessons I learned and connect with you, my dear reader.
What I didn’t expect, though, was that writing has also trained my eyes to look for light and beauty that can be quickly overshadowed by hardships and challenges.
Whenever we face challenges, whether it’s the sleepless night with a sick child, a deadline at work, a scary diagnosis, or sudden unemployment, we face a choice.
Despair or hope? Quit or persevere? Doubt or belief? Hate or love?
When I wrote in my journal that “I wanted to live a beautiful life when I grew up”, I hardly knew what it meant or how. It was, at best, my way to rebel against my cruel reality as a child— a reality full of darkness. My heart desired what my eyes couldn’t see and what my ears hadn’t heard— beauty and meaning.
Hardships in life sometimes are like the dark clouds over our head, depriving our ability to see what Samwise had seen, a twinkling white star above the high mountains.
Fast forward, I’ve outgrown that child raised in Southern China into a woman who knows her Creator God. And I finally understand how to fulfil my childhood resolution of living a beautiful life —through placing that high beauty that Sam saw in front of my eyes all the time, no matter what I’m facing at the moment.
Practically speaking, one of the ways for me is to keep writing and painting.
What about you, friend? What are the things you love doing that makes you feel alive and beautiful? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or send me a direct message.
You might have noticed that my website has a fresh look. I added a resource page where you go and download free resources to help you to discover the version of beauty you are made to create! You can check it out now!
Lastly, my art print shop is LIVE, and I’m so excited! You can visit it here!
See you next week or in my shop! 🙂