By Our Art Contributor, Kathryn Hyland
This past January, I was visiting D.C. with a great friend of mine. It had been a
long, busy day surrounded by noisy crowds and I was in need of a change of pace. We were walking past the National Gallery of Art where there was a Degas’ “The Little Dancer” exhibit taking place. Being the ballet lovers that we are, and hardly being able to resist any type of museum, we looked at each other and decided we couldn’t possibly pass this one up. I hadn’t been to a museum in a long time and as I looked around me, my faith in humanity was somewhat restored. Not only was the art work beautiful and inspiring; the amount of people enjoying the museum, (especially on a week day), was inspiring.
Every so often, it becomes necessary to step away from the materialism, social media, and fastpaced lifestyles most Americans lead these days, and take time to enjoy the seemingly “little” things in life. I say “seemingly” because we tend to view some of God’s greatest gifts as small, unimportant, everyday occurrences. Taking the time to soak in a beautiful sunset, a stimulating conversation, or a wondrous work of art can rejuvenate us and help us prioritize our lives. This past year I have been challenging myself to slow down and observe the little wonders God places in my life.
As I walked around admiring the exhibit, I realized something about Degas’ work. None of the dancers were “perfect” and they were not depicted in a “beautiful” way by today’s standard of beauty. Degas had captured the dancers doing simple, everyday tasks: putting their shoes on in the studio, stretching at the barre, or waiting in the wings backstage. Through his paintings, he was able to share what he found beautiful and inspiring. Edgar Degas took the little task of tying a ballet shoe and made it beautiful.
The Degas exhibit was such a refreshing experience and since then, I have been on the look out for any “little” beautiful moments I can take in. I have found that God gives us little presents to help us appreciate the beauty of our journey. A good book, a walk with nature, or a smile from a stranger, are gifts to us if we take the time to slow down and appreciate them. What beautiful things are you missing out on by rushing through life?
Let’s all try to slow down, open our eyes, and marvel at the simple beauty around us.