There’s a movie, probably more than one, about an art thief who steals famous paintings and then keeps them hanging behind heavy drapes in a locked room. Shame on him for hiding the beauty away. Oh, and for stealing. That’s bad too.

Dad wrote last week about Mom’s beautiful flower gardens. He didn’t mention that he has a hand in the creating and maintaining, too, but he’s right. Mom has an eye for beauty. It’s part of her. But what struck me in his writing was how much pleasure the gardens bring other people. The golfers that pass by the ninth hole. Friends who stop in to visit. Me, when I get a chance to have a cup of coffee with them on their deck.

It’s made me think, this week, about beauty. About creativity and art and words and all the beautiful things people have inside them. And how, if these things don’t get shared somehow, they are like paintings in locked rooms. Beautiful, yes. But sad and lonely and wasted.

Today, I’m seeing the beauty around me. The lovely that is right in front of my eyes. And if I see it in you, I’ll comment on it. Because it’s all about the sharing.

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Shirley is a fantastic gardener. We live on a golf course and every spring as we are working in the backyard, golfers stop to chat. They tell her that her garden is the best on the golf course and that they are looking forward to seeing what it will look like this summer. This is what a small corner of the garden looked like mid summer last year.

Each spring Shirley thinks about what she wants the finished product to look like and begins to plant the flowers that will create the desired effect. As we were digging and weeding and putting in bedding plants this spring I began to think this is much like life. We need to have a picture of where we want to go, what we want to accomplish and what we want our life to look like. I think the Apostle Paul had this in mind when he said, “be imitators of me as I also am of Christ.”  In other words, create a picture of what you want to be, then work toward it.

But it is not always an easy process because what we start with is not necessarily what we want the finished product to look like. The next picture is taken of the same area a few weeks earlier in the spring.

The building blocks are there. There are some shrubs beginning to grow, some show blossoms and a few perennials have already leafed out, but before we see mid summer’s results we have to plant and weed and water and fertilize. The shrubs need to be pruned, some plants staked up, and some taken out because they don’t fit with what we want the finished product to look like.

A couple of days ago I was going over the same area for the third time and there were still weeds, and I knew that gardening and life are much the same. A lot of people think I am quite a nice person; occasionally some one says something nice about me. But when I look into my heart I realize I had better start weeding again. And I need to go back and take another look at who I really want to be.