Beauty in the Unexpected
The other day, Lia and I took a bike ride to her school playground. She loves to show me all the cool tricks she can do on the monkey bars, and we get to play tether ball like I used to as a little kid. On this day, after we parked our bikes and we pulled up to the jungle gym, I noticed some horrible things written all over with sharpie. Things I won't type here, but know they involved Hitler, swastikas and terrible racial slurs. Keep in mind, this is on an elementary school playground, very clearly done by a kid, as evidenced by the sloppy handwriting and misspelled words.
It disgusted me to see this. To know there are people out there who can look down at another just for the color of their skin or for what country they live in, or to feel they're better than someone else because of whatever form of God they choose to worship. And it made me sad, because kids aren't born with hate in their hearts. Kids are born with nothing but love.
I share this because seeing those disgusting things out in a public place for kids sparked a good conversation between Lia and I. I pointed out the words to her. I explained how some people write not nice things in places where others can see them. Some people feel hate is the only way to live their lives. I asked Lia how she feels when she makes happy art for others. I asked her how she thought happy art makes others feel when they see it. And that, we can use our words and art to make people feel loved or startle them with negativity.
"We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here." - Pema Chödrön
The art I aim to leave around, be it in a letter to a stranger, happy messages on rocks, a mini encouragement card in a gas station pump, is all left to make people see something out of the ordinary that makes them smile and know they are loved. So often, we walk through our moments with our heads in our phones, constantly thinking about what's next, worrying about all sorts of things...and when you notice something different, a letter of encouragement stuck by the Diet Coke cans in a grocery store, a "Hey, You're Awesome!" message on an airplane, You are Magic written in cement, or a rock with You Are So Loved drawn on, it pulls you out of the distractedness of life and let's you know that someone somewhere spent some of their time to brighten your day. It's the beauty found in the unexpected.
Deep down, no matter our upbringing, I think people ultimately want to know they matter. People want to believe their actions can impact the world. We are alive to love and be loved. And our actions can let each other know those things are true. Or our actions can make people feel the opposite. We all have the power to brighten someone's day. We all have the magic inside of us, fueled by a love we can't fully explain, that we can use to bring about a smile on someone's face.
"Radiating love, even in small ways, raises the vibration of the planet." - Lissa Rankin
The choice is yours.
What can you do today to raise the vibration of this amazingly beautiful planet we call home? What unexpected beauty can you leave for someone else today? What unexpected beauty have you found at some point in your life?