Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beautiful Things Make Me Sad

  Beautiful things make me sad, sometimes. Sometimes a beautiful view, song, or story makes me want to cry. I never knew why, and I still am not quite sure - but last year I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and there was a section in that book that said this:

“He stood staring into the wood for a minute, then said: "What is it about the English countryside — why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?"

 He sounded faintly sad. Perhaps he finds beauty saddening — I do myself sometimes. Once when I was quite little I asked father why this was and he explained that it was due to our knowledge of beauty's evanescence, which reminds us that we ourselves shall die. Then he said I was probably too young to understand him; but I understood perfectly.” 

 That quote made me think. Is it true? Is the reason why we find beauty saddening because we know it can't last? The most beautiful sunset only lasts a few minutes before it disappears and is gone forever. The most beautiful, majestic tree will someday fall. The loveliest castle, mansion, or cathedral will someday crumble into ruins. Our own life here on earth is but a fleeting moment. Maybe, when we see something beautiful, we feel that somewhere deep down, and it makes us sad.

  I don't really know why beautiful things makes me sad. But I do think that it's a nice kind of sadness. And I know, as a Christian, that though this life is temporary, there's a life waiting for me where beautiful things and beautiful moments will last forever.

 "So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."
John 16:22



  1. Hmmm. It's an interesting one. I think that the sadness in beauty is also due to knowing that you can't stay. I suppose similarly to the dying aspect but when you see a fabulous building or experience a special moment, you mightn't see it again, at least for a while. I like this post.

    Anna x

  2. Anna - that's a really good point. I feel that way too sometimes.

  3. What a wonderful subject. You inspired me to write my own post on the idea!

  4. I know what you mean. And I agree with Anna, too. I think it can happen when you experience something really incredible, whether it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some far off place or just an everyday moment that's magical. It can be so beautiful, and you can be so happy in that moment, but there's also a bit of sadness because you know you'll never get to experience it exactly like that again. You can try, but it will still be a little different, and that's sad. Sometimes I wish I could bottle up moments so I could revisit them exactly as they were. :)

    Slightly off-topic: Did you enjoy I Capture the Castle? I've been wanting to read it for the longest time, and I finally bought it back in December. I'm hoping to read it soon...

  5. There are some thing so beautiful that it reminds us of the heaven we are yearning for... that makes us "sad" inside, but really, a kind of grand rejoicing comes with it. :)

    Just found your blog and I think it's wonderful! The Irish country, music and landscapes are one of my favorites! Keep up the good work, lovely.

    ♥ aspirer

  6. I think beauty can make us sad sometimes because we catch a glimpse of the way the world was meant to be. And it's sad because the world is broken, and we can feel in our hearts that it's not right. But there is a great deal of joy to be found in that sort of sadness, because like you said, we can look forward to heaven, when the beauty will last and it will finally be the way it was meant to be. <3

    "Hearts on Earth may say in the course of a joyful experience, 'I don't want this to ever end.' But invariably it does. The hearts of those in Heaven say, 'I want this to go on forever.' And it will. There is no better news than this." -J.I. Packer

    1. That's so true, Inna. I really like that way of looking at it. And that's a great quote.