There's always the same amount of good luck and bad luck in the world. If one person doesn't get the bad luck, somebody else will have to get it in their place. There's always the same amount of good and evil, too. We can't eradicate evil, we can only evict it, force it to move across town. And when evil moves, some good always goes with it. But we can never alter the ratio of good to evil. All we can do is keep things stirred up so neither good nor evil solidifies. That's when things get scary. Life is like a stew, you have to stir it frequently, or all the scum rises to the top.
Beauty! Wasn't that what mattered? Beauty was hardly a popular ideal at that jumpy moment in history. The masses had been desensitized to it, the intelligentsia regarded it with suspicion. To most of her peers, 'beauty' smacked of the rarefied, the indulgent, the superfluous, the effete. How could persons of good conscience pursue the beautiful when there was so much suffering and injustice in the world? Ellen Cherry's answer was that if one didn't cultivate beauty, soon he or she wouldn't be able to recognize ugliness. The prevalence of social ugliness made commitment to physical beauty all the more essential. And the very presence in life of double-wide mobile homes, Magic Marker graffiti, and orange shag carpeting had the effect of making ills such as poverty, crime, repression, pollution, and child abuse seem tolerable. In a sense, beauty was the ultimate protest, and, in that it generally lasted longer than an orgasm, the ultimate refuge. The Venus de Milo screamed 'No!' at evil, whereas the Spandex stretch pant, the macrame plant holder were compliant with it. Ugly bedrooms bred ugly habits. Of course, it wasn't required of beauty that it perform a social function. That was what was valuable about it.
Change is not always a good thing. What I need is not change from one thing to another but transformation from who I am into who I was meant to become. Only when God's transforming power touches me can I begin to live the simpler, freer, fresher, more creative, more patient, more passionate, more sacrificial, riskier, rawer, more real, more love-driven life God intended for me all along. That transformation is what awaits all who dare to enter the story of God. As Paul wrote, 'Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think' (Romans 12:2)
Good human work honors God's work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. But such blasphemy is not possible when the entire Creation is understood as holy and when the works of God are understood as embodying and thus revealing His spirit. (pg. 312, Christianity and the Survival of Creation)
Astra is a beauty. (...) Astra is so beautiful that I have no wish to describe her beauty. I will say only that her beauty is the expression of her soul. Her beauty lives in her quiet walk, in her shy movements, in her always-lowered eyelids, in her barely perceptible smile, in the soft outline of her girlish shoulders, in the chastity of her poor, almost beggarly clothing, in her thoughtful grey eyes. She is a white water lily in a pond shadowed by the branches of trees, born amid still, contemplative water. (...) The world of modest female beauty finds its expression in Astra. As for what may lie hidden in the depths of these waters, no-one can say unless he breaks the water's smooth surface, walks barefoot through the cutting sedge and treads the silty, sucking mud — now cold, now strangely warm. But I only stand on the shore, admiring the lily from a distance
Store good words in your heart, and you will be always and everywhere finding yourself to be in goodness. Loyalty and kindness will always be with you. Paint your good words in the blue canvas of day, and in the starry canvas of night. In this way, you will always be with reminding yourself of goodness. Place your trust in the beauty of your words. Grow and culture in your understanding of beauty and love. The path of beauty and love always welcomes you to come walk it.