Beware of Tainted Beauty
I watched a tribute last night. Really it was a documentary. An older couple had rescued an 18th Century home in Britain and had poured their heart and soul into renovating it. The result was fantastic. Even more remarkable was that they worked 6-hour days, seven days a week for decades to do it.
The garden was truly a thing of beauty, as was the quirky interior of this scaled down mansion. Ever chair, curtain, and cushion had been handmade with intense dedication to detail, creating a visual delight. But the whole estate, complete with the labor of years was horribly flawed.
It turned out that the couple had become estranged from their children, who wanted nothing more to do with their superhuman but indifferent parents.
You see, the house and garden were immaculate things of beauty. But the couple’s way of dealing with their children was an ugly mess.
There was no room for nurturing their children because the estate needed undivided attention. No time for relationship, unless the kids mucked in to help them fulfill their dream. In the process of pursuing their passion, these people had emotionally abandoned their children. A lifelong personal quest to create something of beauty had been tainted by indifference, anger, and an abiding grief.
It was a painful watching this couple justify the beauty they had proudly made yet dismiss their kids with a disapproving wave of the hand. They missed it. Worse, each scene of beauty, woven with years of contempt, had become a tragic folly.
Seeking to create beauty through our actions is a noble goal. But it needs a good heart. Many a marvel of ingenuity and effort has been wrought throughout history that we can declare to be wonderful, even beautiful. Yet when we discover they were made with slave labor, hatred, or corrupt dealing, their beauty becomes tarnished. Forever.
Better to do a small thing with dignity and goodness, than a great thing with contempt. Like an outwardly kind person with a cruel heart, beauty without integrity is violated. Not only do such people leave you feeling uneasy, but you always remember them for the harm they cause. Knowing the difference frees you, at least in part, from their taint. But be careful. All that glitters really isn’t what you think.
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