The line between “beautiful” and “ugly” is thinner than you think.
I’ve always thought that there was something inherently beautiful about obviously ugly things. Its what keeps me appreciating Tim Burton movies, Pugs, and weird experimental music like Radiohead, and other things that don’t really conform to public standards of what makes something “beautiful.” Ugly things often get forgotten, ignored, missed, neglected, and many times written off. I’ve written before somewhere about how the best kind of beauty is the kind that’s not obvious… the hidden kind of beauty, the kind that only reveals itself to the attentive heart…the woman who wields it not as a cheap way to get the attention and approval of everyone around her, but as if it is her most sacred possession…a holy gift meant to be hidden and unveiled at moments where it can be used for good. C. S Lewis said it this way: “beauty is not democratic. She reveals herself more to the few than to the many.”
For instance why do we call the traditional Friday every year where we remember the crucifixion of Jesus “good” ? Was it not one of the darkest hours of the New Testament, with the hero hanging on a cross? Why isn’t it called “bad Friday”?
Because there’s certain ugly things that possess in them an inherent and mysterious beauty…
Crosses were execution devices. The cynical part of me scoffs at centuries and millennia of church history that has “beautified” the cross. Gilded it with gold. Made it into an ornament…a trinket. But then there’s part of me that sees it with different eyes, and I understand why its become the cherishes symbol of Christianity: it symbolizes sacrifice, love, and selfless service. Servant-love. Beauty, in its purest form.
It is a basic truth of life… or at least of Beauty and the Beast: that beautiful people are never too far from ugliness, and that ugly things become beautiful when they are loved. Love carries beauty with it, no matter how dark or sinister is the moment into which it is brought. That’s why nobody ever tells someone that their newborn baby is ugly (although we have all seen some pretty ugly babies!) … what makes that baby beautiful is the fact that he/she is loved … and their very existence seems to prove it. Even the ugliest and darkest places, people, and moments in the world can at once be transformed to be the most beautiful, hopeful, and joyful when Love appears on the scene.
The difference is love.