Beautiful, Glorious and Sad

park sunriseI’ve been reading Melody Beattie’s 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact in the morning this year.  It is a daily reader in which each week is dedicated to a spiritual principle.  On Day 1, she discusses the principle, on Day 2, she offers a suggestion for applying it in your life.  Day 3 addresses the challenges of applying the principle and Day 4 provides a focus for including it in a personal inventory (perhaps a fearless moral one). Day 5 suggests an action to take and Day 6 offers a focus for gratitude.  Day 7, not surprisingly, provides a prayer.   The truth is, I’m not enjoying 52 Weeks as much as I have some of Beattie’s other books which is likely why I’m only on Week 23 (when this is the 30th week of the year).  But I really liked Week 23 … keeping an Open Heart.

As in most things, Beattie is a pragmatist when it comes to staying open.  She realizes that there are times when we encounter pain, untrustworthy people. and a cynical world.  In times like that we may need to close down to protectheart of stone ourselves.  The trick is not to become jaded or cynical ourselves but to open our hearts again when it’s safe.  Day 5 of Week 23 suggests making a list of activities that help you stay open.  She offers some suggestions.  Get out in nature. Go to a heart-opening movie. Spend time with a favorite friend. If you’re in recovery, go to a meeting. Hold a baby, pet a puppy, or listen to some of your favorite music. Do something nice for someone or let someone do something nice for you. Do something that helps you believe in life again.

My original outline for this post ended here with my own list, but Beattie’s list works pretty well for me, particularly if you replace the puppy with a cat (nothing against dogs, I just like cats better).  But in trying to come up with my own list, I realized that the things that open my heart fall into three groups: Beautiful, Glorious and SadBeautiful things … from the contented bluebirdsmile on Muri’s face when she’s napping to the faces of my grandkids or the flash of a bluebird as he darts from tree to tree at the park … open my heart by reminding me how much I have to be grateful for in this life.  The Glorious … an amazing sunset, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, or a perfectly played classical guitar … opens my heart by giving me the sense that there’s something larger than life at work in this world, a HigherSUNSET2 Power that I can sense if I bother to try.  Then there’s Sad.   For most of us … certainly Older Eyes … it may be the last house we choose to visit.  Yet I think we’ve all had our heart opened by tragedy and we’ve all experienced the closeness of heart that appears from nowhere at the funeral of family or friend.   It’s why so many of us love sad songs and movies, so we can open our hearts without facing our personal sadness.  Sadness opens my heart through compassion, the realization that for all our differences, we are not only in the same leaky boat, we are one.  Perhaps that’s why God created sadness, as the last resort to keep our hearts from turning to stone.

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2 Comments on “Beautiful, Glorious and Sad”

  1. Well said. The sadness is there so we will better appreciate the things in life we consider beautiful and good.

  2. “God created sadness, as the last resort to keep our hearts from turning to stone”… great thought and it helps to deal with emotions, to understand the heart and turn to God in prayer of the gratitude – thank you for the post. I would greatly appreciate your visit to my blog and the comments on

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