Despite her renown for her inspirational thoughts, recorded in her famous diary, the Anne Frank story popped into the spot light recently for completely different reason. While on a tour of Amsterdam Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House and wrote in the guest book, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” The ignorant comment outraged people, who found the pop star relating himself and his fans to a stoic victim one of the worst genocides in history, to be extremely offensive.
Whatever the reason, it is good to have the profound work of the teen, who was forced into hiding in World War II because of her Jewish ethnicity, highlighted. Despite hiding for over two years in a tiny apartment with seven other people, her diary indicates she was not a complainer and as in the quote above focused on positive aspects of life. The following is an interesting take on both Anne Frank and beauty.
Think of all the beauty around you and be happy, Anne Frank said. She should know, if anyone does. Anne Frank was sixteen when she died in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. Before she died she must have known – she must have seen – to be able to say such a thing in those darkest of hours – that matter can be illuminated and clarified by a quality of grace beyond its merely material form; beyond even circumstances that would normally be considered so horrific as to be unredeemable. Matter transformed – either of itself or in the light of our imagination – opens our hearts and minds and joins us to the living miracle of the world.
At the heart of beauty is the union of spirit and matter. Spirit: the ineffable ungraspable quality that brings something alive. Beauty is a unity beyond rational apprehension, a whole greater than the sum of its parts. It is a lens or a window that offers a glimpse of a greater dimension of reality; one that brings us closer to the source of being. It was the window that was open to me this morning on my way up Mount Tam. It is both objective and also partly in the eye of the beholder, made conscious through the eye of the individual imagination. We may see even the most banal and humdrum thing – a plastic bag dipping and diving in the wind – and like the characters in the movie American Beauty, be in awe at the inexpressible beauty they can see there dancing before them. Beauty is one of the saving graces of being alive.
It is a beautiful day today and there are many things to be grateful for, such as beautiful relationships friends and family members. The fact that we have a computer to be reading this on and time to be reading it. And flowers. We are always grateful for flowers.