Our humanity lies not in the ordinary. We do the things we have to in order to stay alive. Alive. But to really live, we have to do the unnecessary. We create extraordinary things. We gather ourselves in music and art and dessert. And this is where we really live. And oh, how beautiful. This beautiful stillness.
It was never necessary for an apple to be beautiful. It could offer the same nutrients in a plain package. In fact, we could take vitamins, and maybe get the same thing. But there it is for us, in all of its unnecessary beauty. The brilliant ball of red, and green and yellow, that fits perfectly into the palm of your hand. What a gift. And the pear. This yellow. This yellow that doesn’t rely on just yellow, but greens and browns and oranges and bruising, never apologizing for its bruises, its scars. As if it has already healed from the growth on the vine, saying, no it’s not easy, but it is wonderful, and I am beautiful. I am so beautiful.
But that’s the risk, isn’t it? Beauty is a risk. Creating beauty, being beautiful (I mean a beautiful person, generating real beauty) that is pure vulnerability. It is a risk. Someone could say, well, I just don’t get it. They do it in museums. Have you listened to jazz? Beauty is a risk. Some may reject you. You may be the dented peach, the scratched pear, and you may know, hey, I am beautiful, but not everyone will be willing to go there with you. And that’s on them, not you. Beauty is strong. Humanity is strong. Some people are afraid. They are afraid to be vulnerable. And they are scared of those who dare. Those who dare to be brave. Those who dare to say, I am part of all of this… I am a part of you.
And they might say, well, it’s not even necessary for us to get along, for us to see each other, to see the beauty in all. And they are probably right. The world will keep spinning. And there will be ugly things. Like anger and mistrust. Ugly things like fear and discrimination. Ugly things like abuse. So we do the unnecessary. We offer our smiles, our colors, our bruises, and say, hello. We smile on the street. We forgive. We forgive ourselves. We show up early. We stay a little longer. We laugh. Not necessary, but oh, oh, so needed. We dig a little deeper. We learn a little more – something that’s not on the test – something about someone’s past. We care enough to ask. And then we care a little more. We walk a few steps further. We order an extra dessert. The pure joy of the unnecessary. We get up a little earlier. We take a little nap. Luxury.
And so I place the fruit before you. I ask you to be brave. I ask the same of myself. Let’s take the risks. Let’s be as brave and strong and giving as the fruit before us. Let us be beautiful. Let us be fruitful. Let us expose our branch-weary days and dare to say we matter, we have something to offer – something to offer that is beyond the ordinary – something so beautiful that it surpasses all the imperfections of ordinary life. Let us be kind and giving and, well, fruitful. Let us be so fruitful with these unecesary gifts. Let us be so good that we are beyond worthy of the unnecessary. Let us welcome the chocolate and the days in the sun… the open hands, the crooked smiles, the jokes and the uplifting hugs. Let us be humble enough to accept these gifts. Let us blush apple red when the unnecessary compliments roll in. Let us pass them on. Let us send flowers and “love you” notes for no reason. Let us give. Let us paint. And sing. And dance (like nobody is watching, because really, are they?). Let us splash in puddles and offer rides and slow down. Let us be gentle. Let us listen. Let us like. Let us love. Beyond the necessary, beyond what is expected. Let’s be unexpected. Not shocking, but wow-ing.
With every paint stroke, I think, I could do better. Not in painting, but living. And so I paint, not because it is necessary, but because it is a reminder – a reminder to be unnecessary. No one needs this paper to survive, but what joy it brings me. And maybe you too. Maybe I can bring you joy. And so I keep painting. And what a pleasure it would be to stop and see you smile. What an unnecessary gift. Let’s remember, and share it. Let’s learn and use it. Let’s love and give it.
The gifts are on the table. Take the risk. Enjoy!