I never figured much could come from a Twitter conversation, but then I tweeted to renowned Japanese artist Makoto Fujimura last April.
I saw Fujimura in a film called “For the Life of the World,” and he was talking about what it means to behold the beauty of Christ. It made me want to get still and notice God’s beauty in all things, and I felt like thanking Fujimura for inspiring me. So I tweeted to him and included “For the Life of the World” (@LetterstoExiles) in my poorly-worded tweet, which said:
— Joshua Rogers (@MrJoshuaRogers) April 17, 2015
Fujimura replied by suggesting that I read his moving essay, “How to ‘See’ my Painting,” which encourages people to slow down when they look at artwork, take it in, and let go of their idea of what it means for something to be beautiful. My wife and I were both touched by his simple, but profound, words in the essay; and we sensed the Lord calling us to seek Him more deeply in the beauty of our everyday lives.
So after reading Fujimura’s essay, I tweeted back to him, and we had this exchange:
— Makoto Fujimura (@iamfujimura) April 18, 2015
Shortly after that, my wife found a time-lapsed video of a dandelion on YouTube, and she got my kids and me to sit down with her to watch it. All of us were fascinated as we watched death and resurrection illustrate themselves through the death and rebirth of the bud.
Watching the 100-second video wasn’t enough for one viewing, though; all of us wanted to watch it again and again. And after we watched the video for about ten minutes, something interesting happened in me: the beauty I had beheld in the dandelion grew into something bigger.
Almost immediately, I got the idea for an article about why so many men have trouble finding a beautiful woman: because they can’t see beauty anymore – they don’t know how to slow down and simply behold. In relatively little time, I hammered out my first draft of the article; and after spending several more hours on it, I sent it to the editor for Boundless to see if they would give me a contract for it.
“Where Have All the Beautiful Women Gone?” was published last week on Boundless, and it was shared on Facebook over 2,000 times by Friday. I pray that it had a positive, lasting impact on the thousands who read it – especially the men. But the fact is that the article would’ve never existed if I hadn’t decided to “be still” and “consider how the wildflowers grow” (Psalm 46:10, Luke 12:27).
Whenever we stop and truly behold the beauty around us – whether it’s in the wildflowers or some other wonder God has placed around us – Fujimura is right: it will turn to seeds. And God only knows where they will take root.
If you’re interested in considering how a wildflower grows, here’s the YouTube video my family and I watched together repeatedly.
UPDATE: At the 2015 Evangelical Press Association convention, “Where Have All the Beautiful Women Gone?” won a first place award in the category of General Article: Medium Length.