“A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”

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Dear Reader:

I still remember the feeling I had as I tried to capture the beauty of the sun going down on the marsh of the Cooper River at Walsh and Mollie’s home a few weeks ago.

Even though the picture is nice…in no way was I able to capture the real beauty of the moment as the sun sank behind the river. Yet…the memory of that beauty, as John Keats described, “is a joy forever.”

A few months ago, you might remember that I tried to capture the cascade of falling leaves on Highway 61 (on the way to my physical therapy session) without success and then another day…it was the quiet fog that descended out of nowhere that took my breath away. In both instances…I was taught a lesson. The greatest beauty in the world is freely given and can only be captured in the moment by the human eye.

Yet, don’t we all desire to own something of beauty that we can pass down one day…perhaps a piece of heirloom jewelry, a beautiful painting, or piece of furniture?

Men have fought and given their lives since the beginning of time for precious jewels and beauty for only material sake…not just for the sake of beauty.

This is true in the following short story titled: “To Own Something Beautiful” as told by  Jonita Mullins.

Jonita’s mother was raised by her Grandma Wilson, a widow with no pension and no Social Security, during the Great Depression. The only thing that kept food on the table, during those hard days, was a large vegetable garden that provided them all the food they ate. Grandma Wilson also rented out two extra bedrooms for added income.

One day Grandma Wilson was working in her front yard when a neighbor stopped by to admire a beautiful clump of irises growing along the side of the property. Grandma called them “flags” and took great pride and pleasure in them because they bloomed faithfully year after year.

They didn’t have the money to buy flowers…so these perennials (that she nurtured lovingly) brought her such joy.

The neighbor, an elderly woman, walked by Grandma’s yard each day to and from work. She told Grandma that these brightly colorful “flags” boosted her spirits in these hard times.

And then one day it happened….the neighbor got up the courage to ask Grandma if she would sale the “flags” to her. She had a whole dime and would gladly pay her for them.

Grandma was at a loss for words. The “flags” meant so much to her…the only color in her yard…but still the neighbor’s pleading face and shaking hand, containing the dime, was hard to turn down. She tried to buy some time by saying that they needed to wait until all the blooms were gone before digging up the bulbs.

Grandma suggested to the neighbor to just wait a few weeks and pay for the bulbs at the time of transfer. But the neighbor insisted on paying right then…she figured she might not have the money later.

So Grandma took the dime and a few weeks later noticed that all the blooms were off the irises. She felt sad at her loss but a deal was a deal. When the neighbor didn’t come for them Grandma got hopeful that maybe she never would…but then felt guilty for thinking that way.

One day she looked out the window and her elderly neighbor and daughter were walking by the house. She noticed that they stopped right by the “flags”. Spotting Grandma they both waved to her and motioned her outside.

It was there that Grandma heard the most “beautiful” explanation for the transfer….

Turning to her daughter the neighbor proudly said: “See them flags? They’re mine! “

Puzzled her daughter asked: What do you mean, they’re yours?” “Did you ask Miz Wilson for them?”

“No, I bought them,” the woman said.

“Then why are they still in her yard?” the daughter asked.

“Oh I couldn’t take them away,” her mother answered. “She doesn’t walk by our house. But I come by here every day.”

Both the daughter and Grandma looked puzzled.

“Don’t you see? This way we both can enjoy them. I don’t have time for working a flower bed but Miz Wilson takes mighty good care of them” 

She smiled at Grandma, “I just wanted to own something that beautiful…once in my life…before I died.” 

………………………

So until tomorrow…Father…You show us every day through sun rises, sun sets, and rainbows…that we don’t have to “own” anything…it is there for all of us…freely given.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

jeff13*A couple of Sundays ago our pastor, Jeff Kackley, told us about his family’s recent trip to Disney World. The whole family loves to go there and they got a last minute invitation to stay in the camp ground at Fort Wilderness with family…in a camper.

They packed quickly and had, as usual, loads of fun riding every ride they wanted to and seeing all the displays they enjoyed also. On the last night they decided to forgo the fireworks…they were tired and ready to leave before the crowds worsened… to head back to the camper..

As they neared the camp ground they could hear the fireworks going off back behind them at the Magic Kingdom…it was just then that they noticed how beautiful the stars were in the dark skies… with a gorgeous moon rising high in the sky. The whole group stopped, as if on one accord, before entering the camper to stare up at the sky.

Jeff said it occurred to him as he watched his children excitedly staring at the stars and moon…not even bothering to look back at the fireworks…that God had won again. His beauty surpasses anything man can create.

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to “A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    Beautiful blog and oh so true. I remember seeing pictures of The Grand Canyon. I didn’t really see the true beauty until I saw it with my own eyes. Heading to Little River for a pottery workshop.
    Have a beautiful day!!’ Love you, Honey

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Exactly….there are so many things in life that far surpass the naked eye or camera to capture…I think God made them especially at “moment” magic gifts.

      Like

  2. hopeclark says:

    Oh my goodness, that story about the irises touched my heart. The story was beauty in and of itself. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Hi Hope! Thank you for your sweet comment….when I discovered that story I loved it also. It is so much fun connecting stories and anecdotes to whatever the theme is of the day and that was a sweet one the author remembered about her grandmother. With a lot of help I started a “magic moon gate” garden a couple of years ago and it continues to grow bringing me such joy and it provides the sanctuary I need in my daily life to spend time with God.

      Thank you for your suggestion for sending some personal entries to the “Chicken Soup of the……Soul” series of books. I love my “gardener’s soul” book …where that particular story came from. I will give it a try.

      I appreciate your support and encouragement. Becky

      Like

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