Sunday, October 30, 2011

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, October 31, 2011

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

John Keats, poet; he was born on this date,
1795, at London. (He died in Rome, age 26);
from his poem “A Thing of Beauty”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Of course. There could not possibly be “beauty” that every human being thought so to be. But, if you put all of us together, might that encompass all beauty?

The picture is of John Keats’ house where he died, in Rome, to the right of the Spanish Steps. Dennis and I gazed on it early on a sunny Roman June morning, and pondered the young man dying of consumption, faithfully tended by the poet Percy Shelley. In the sadness there was, is, a tenderness and a poignancy about the fleetingness of human life which spoke of its own beauty.

On the eve of All Saints, I always think of those, friends, and those to whom I ministered, who died of AIDS. So so different! Some so edgy and difficult, some so winsome and attractive! Most both. One of the greatest things they all taught me was how beautiful every single one of us human beings is. They opened my mind and heart to my own richer humanity as well.

You. I. Everyone. “A thing of beauty and a joy forever.” It’s a revelation that changes everything. God dies every moment to be born a thing of beauty in every human soul.


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