Hear, Read, See

A Person should Hear a little music,

Read a little Poetry and

See a Fine Picture

Every day

in order that Worldly Cares may not obliterate the sense of

the Beautiful

which God has implanted in the Human Soul.


My friend Penny sent me these words years ago on a birthday card. I framed them soon after, placing them ever since where I can see them. They are important because they came from a friend and because they tell a truth: ignoring the beauty I hear, read, and see because I am occupied with whatever task is at hand puts my humanity at risk – the humanity God created and sustains.

Music, Poetry, and Painting are about revelation. They help me know the world as something mysterious, something whose reality transcends my individual cares and lifespan. Specific creations that expand my awareness of the universe, bringing no reward beyond profound gratitude at the blessing of hearing, reading, and seeing. In the presence of such beauty, I know that my life is extraordinary – just like everyone else’s.

Today, I listen to the Mills Brothers, read Robert Frost’s A Leaf Treader, and spend time with Kay Chorao’s Tree Shadows illustration. Worldly cares can’t compete with that.

I also read Psalm 125 – not an easy or favorite psalm. Psalms are part of the Beautiful, but remind me that I cannot hide from Worldly Cares behind melody, meter, or palette. Beauty and Worldly Cares: one without the other is incomplete. Together, they are a sacred complete.

For more about the Use Your Words series, see “About.”

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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