It was an extravagance, and I knew it.
I passed this small journal in a favorite bookshop for months, stopping to admire it a few times, but I always ended up placing it back on the rack. I couldn’t think of a use for it that would justify the purchase. Yet there was something about the illuminated, intertwined borders and the gaiety of color that continued to pique my interest; I liked the neatly bound feel of the cover in the hand and the compact concentration of its garden (in fact, though this journal comes in larger sizes, I was only drawn to the smallest).
Well, I can’t remember where I was on the day that I finally bought it — can’t recall if it was a gleam of loveliness in a hope-hungry day, or if I took up the green and gold to commemorate a family excursion in the golden days of summer. I do know that it lay on my desk for a week or so afterward as I tried to figure out its purpose. It didn’t seem right, somehow, to make it a repository for random scribbles.
One day, I simply knew what it was to be.
My own back garden holds a wealth of sights and sounds and textures that no human eye beholds but mine. Today I crouched in the garden to see if I could spy any fruiting flowers on the spaghetti squash vines. All at once I became aware of a whirring sound above my head, like the sound of a battery-powered pocket fan. When I looked up, I saw a hummingbird gazing down at me, looking for all the world like a tiny iridescent mermaid treading the fluid air.
If I believe that God is the creator and sustainer of everything, then I must concede that He knows where I will stand and what sights I will see, and chooses to bring them into being. He chooses to give us not only bare sustenance, but beauty.
What can we make of this, but that we are loved? . . .
You and I are, to a degree that it seems almost embarrassing to suggest, personally remembered by the Maker of the heavens and the earth.
This, then, is my small book of beauties: my offering of gratitude for the constant newness of His mercies, which are often as fresh and unexpected as snowdrops springing from the lately frozen earth; my attempt to be attentive to the beauties that, like grace notes upon a melody, speak volumes about the Composer of this world. It is my (insufficient) record of the kind of love He has for us, evidenced through Christ and rippling out in a thousand vivifying waves from the Resurrection—
a love unaccountably brazen, sacrificial, refining, noble and ennobling.