How to add some beauty to the world

How to add some beauty to the world

Last week was the sort of week it’s good to be able to call “last week.”

But the more we focus on what’s wrong, it seems to me that we’ll be seeing only the wrong things… the horrible things… the ugly things.

What’s helped me through the past few days — days of thinking I don’t dare turn on the TV news or pick up the paper until I can stand the shock — is the idea of looking for beauty.

On Saturday morning, I saw a mother taking a photo of her children at the Water Tower. I acted on impulse and offered to take a photo of all three of them, with her in it. Showing some interest and knowledge of how her camera-phone worked must have reassured her, and the mother was soon posing with her kids. She was delighted and said “We don’t have many of these!”

We don’t have many moments of beauty right now. Let’s go looking for more. Why not try:

Singing in public. A neighbor boy was stunned once when I joined in as he sang “Rain, rain, go away.” I knew the song went on with “Come again another day,” but he didn’t know I’d know! We had a good laugh together.

Picking up litter. Don’t think the worst of the litterer; maybe he was too distracted by grief or pain to know that he dropped anything.

Let someone else go first. How urgent is your wait, anyway?

Saying “good morning” — and replying to it. When I was a teenager, I remember stunning my dad when I told him that I didn’t like mornings. He was stunned because I always wished him a “good morning.” I did it partly because it was so nice to hear the answering “good morning” back.

Saying “thank you” — and replying to it. “You’re welcome” may be the ultimate Words Worth Defending.

Feel free to add your own ideas below. Thank you for reading.


Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.



Filed under: Words Worth Defending


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  • My mother got on my case for not saying "thank you," so I do, even to incompetent counter service staff, although I can't get up to "please." However, their response usually is "Have a nice day."

  • Thank you, Jack. That's too bad about "Have a nice day," since (I think) the goal of a counter server would make you feel that you are, er, welcome.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    They could make me feel welcome by serving me properly, not giving me a single when I ordered a double or telling me that the machine to make some exotic coffee for which I had a Dunkin Donuts coupon was out of order. And those people spoke English.

    On the other hand, I had a good conversation with the fish monger at Sunset, and complimented him that he hit the requested weights exactly, as opposed to someone at Jewel who goes way over and then claims she can't cut it. Have to go now and make some Sunset True Cod.

  • In reply to jack:

    Your conversation does sound good, Jack. Well done.

  • I love all these ideas! Thank you!

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    You're welcome. Thanks for the beauty you share in your sewing -- and your writing.

  • Thank you for this beautiful post.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    You're welcome. Thank you for a beautiful comment.

  • Looks like Broom Hilda captured the essence of this, including the now more frequent "No problem." Not like it isn't their job.

  • Thanks, Jack, for altering my day.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    You're welcome, or due an apology ;-).

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