28.3.12

A hope and a scar.

Life quite often astounds me. The entire world is made up of contrasts. Moments are full of beauty, and moments are mundane. This morning, I stood in front of the sink brushing my teeth and I noticed the plastering in the corner of the wall. It was ragged, rough, and dusted with cobwebs. It was not some sort of hidden beauty. It was plain, and of no consequence. But then I looked out the bathroom door, and noted the soft morning sun refracting through the windows and casting shafts of light across the hallway, and I was breathless, just for a second. What is it inside of us that recognises beauty? How do we know what is beautiful and what is not? If we strip away all the advertising, the social mediums through which we portray culture and its perception of beauty there remains, I think, an inherent recognition of beauty. Where does this come from?

I believe the most beautiful thing in the world to be people. And not because I think that we are important above all else in the world, or that we are supremely created above all else. It is because when I watch people in their movements, their interactions with others, their fear of being found out, their eagerness to prove themselves, and their yearning to be recognised, I see not perfection, but brokenness. And in a way, that is what beauty is to me...Helen Keller said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." The stories that people tell, and the stories that they do not tell, talk of a desire to be known and a fear of never being known. A yearning to believe, and a nagging doubt that there is anything to believe in. A hope, and a scar. 
 Te Ao Maori talks of Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatuanuku, the earth mother, being torn apart by their children who had been trapped between them as they passionately embraced one another, never wanting to let go. Although Ranginui and Papatuanuku wept for one another, asking their children "why do you wish to destroy our love?", through the separation of the earth and the sky te Kore (the nothingness) gave way to te ao Marama (the world of light), from which life sprung, and woman and man were breathed life in to.  When the naivete is stripped away the world becomes a vast, overwhelming place where beauty pulses alongside brokenness. Can we have one without the other?
I don't think it is possible. Mahatma Ghandi said “I call him religious who understands the suffering of others.” That is beauty, to me. The understanding  of others' suffering. The sharing of burdens. The distinction that springs from the plaster in the wall, and the sunshine that lights it up.


E te Ariki

Whakarongo mai ra ki a matou

E te Ariki

Titiro mai ra ki a matou

Tenei matou O tamariki

E whakapono 
Ana matou ki a koe
Aue! Aue! 

Te matua te tamaiti

Wairua tapu e


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