“Beckon the lovely.” Words I am remembering today from the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal, an author who memorably sought a good wife for her husband in her waning days “as a person on this planet.”
I discovered her a few years ago in a newspaper story about her life, death, and legacy. I had just finished reading about a Syrian war documentary and felt gutted. I wondered then, in a world of war and drowning children, could a person living a loving, generous, gracious, wise, creative life make any difference? The question is still pressing.
Back then, I googled her and got lost in her work. I found children’s books and memoirs and videos of her making beauty and fun. A Tedx Talk that said, “Whatever you decide to look for you will find.” If you look for the dark and disappointing, that is what you will notice. So you may as well look for the good. Beckon the lovely.
I try but it is not easy. I cannot sustain it. I see the dirty dishes left in the sink by my kids for someone else (guess who?) to deal with, and let annoyance set my mood. This “beckoning of the lovely” business takes practice.
In our garage, a mess of junk piled up over the years, owing to my hoarding tendencies. It must have been not long after I read about her that I retrieved a slat of wood from a broken bookshelf, saved because I thought it might become something. I wiped the dust and cobwebs off, found some old house paint, and in a once-a-year type inspiration, set out to make something.
A sign to remind me of that elusive but important aspiration. What you look for, you’re gonna find.
Sometimes when I sit outside, the air touches my skin like a smile.