There is always collateral beauty. I can’t prove it, but I believe it. In the movie Collateral Beauty, starring Will Smith, an elderly woman sits with a grieving mother who is expecting the death of her child in a matter of moments. Along with her sympathy, she counsels the mother to notice the collateral beauty that appears within and follows tragic moments.
I can’t prove that is always the case.
And I would not share it with a mother whose child’s death is imminent. But I believe it is nevertheless true.
Here is my confidence. I believe God is always at work in hidden ways forming us into the image of Jesus, inspiring acts of kindness and courage, and revealing God’s love in surprising and unexpected ways. We can see God’s footprints in the sand though God is hidden to our sight.
I see it when neighbors help each other and care for the elderly on their street.
I see it when healthcare workers exhibit courage and self-giving as they risk their own lives.
I see it when people are more connected online than they were in their previous busyness.
I see it when life is simplified and what is really important emerges in our practices and consciousness.
I see it when domestic workers who can no longer clean houses still receive a check from their employers with a bonus.
I see it when Amazon becomes a channel for gift-giving to hospitals, shut-ins, and out of work immigrants rather than a symbol of consumerism.
I could go on. Perhaps you can add your own.
Collateral beauty neither minimizes the pain nor turns it into something good.
Instead, collateral beauty is a ray of light in the midst of the darkness. As we squint in the darkness, perhaps we are able see a light that opens a window into the goodness of both God and humanity . . . if we notice the collateral beauty.
Collateral beauty neither heals the wound nor cures the virus. It does, however, offer hope in the midst of despair.
Learn more from John Mark Hicks about how to trust God in the midst of grief, suffering, and loss by looking at his book Anchors for the Soul.