You see this tree, how beautiful he is. He is very tall and stands on a hill just outside my church study. I've looked at him every day for years, but only today did I notice him. You may be wondering why I call him "him". I don't know. But a good friend of mine a couple of years ago pointed that out to me when I was showing her another tree I admired. I said, "He's my favorite tree!" She got a kick out of me calling him a "he". Why did I just notice this tree today? I don't really know, but I love him and think he is so beautiful. He is not perfect. There are broken branches everywhere, and he is sparse here and there. He is top-heavy. But he is uniquely beautiful just as he is! I felt him saying today that he needed me to paint him. I feel like painting him. So expect me to come up with a watercolor of this tree in the next little while.
The people around me are the same. Every one is unique. Every one is beautiful. In their own way. Like the tree, they are not all pretentious. They just are. Not one of them is perfect. I've yet to meet anyone who is the perfect human being, the perfect physical representation of the idea of the human body. But they are each one uniquely beautiful. They deserve to be noticed. And maybe even painted!
Do you remember the end of The Last Samurai? In it, the Samurai Chieftan is looking for the perfect cherry blossom. This is his life endeavor. Then, near the end of the movie when he lies dying on the battlefield, it is snowing cherry blossoms everywhere. He notices them and says, "Perfect! They are all perfect!" Trees. Cherry blossoms. People. They are all beautiful. This is my life endeavor: to notice this. To notice that everyone around me, especially those I care for, are beautiful, standing, blossoming, growing, just as they are. Their beauty is indescribable, if only I would notice!