rebelling against low expectations

Beauty is Fleeting, Life is Boring, And That Bugs Me


Sometimes, beauty irritates me.

It seems weird. The world is can be an ugly place, and beauty is something humanity is constantly seeking out. It’s one of the things, along with truth and good, that was imbedded at our creation, and draws us forever to itself. But, I’m an introspective type, and I’ve been studying my reaction to it lately.

I think that part of the reason teenagers are characterized as being bored is because, as childhood’s thrill of new life wears off, we are hit about then with a sobering realization: this is about all there is to it. Kind of like the day after Christmas. “Oh…these toys.”

Try to wake up, eat breakfast (probably cereal), do school, eat lunch, get done with school, clean up the house, loaf around, do things you need to do before supper, eat supper, do things you have to do before bed, go to bed, try to sleep, try to wake up, eat breakfast (probably cereal)….

That’s basically how it is, and that’s how it is when you go to college, and that’s how it is when you get out of college, (except you work instead of doing school) and even after you get married that’s the way it is.

Then you retire, but you’ll probably still have to work or loaf around for a large portion of your day.

You start to think during your teenage years that there are only two options: you can be bored like that for the rest of your life, or you can explode, (which, oddly enough, is boring too.)

We want something extraordinary to burst though. Beauty has a way of doing that for me. The sudden breathlessness, the fascination, the locking of the eyes, the tightness in the throat—it shatters everything for an instant. Then it’s gone. Breakfast time. (Probably cereal.)

And that’s how it tends to be. Beauty has a way of flashing out for a second and being gone in the next. When Christ was transfigured on the mountain, it was a relatively fleeting even in the scheme of his earthly ministry. These moments of wonder and glory pass all too quickly.

Like Peter, we find ourselves offering to build tabernacles, vying for time, subtly urging “Please don’t go away.”

One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is an instrumental piece by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It’s entitled “Christmas Bells, Carousels, and Time.”

Look it up. It’s well worth the one minute that it lasts. It lingers on in your mind after it’s over, and I find myself wondering at the last note when I’ll hear it again. It captures the kind of longing that passing transfigurations leave us with.

We have to spend most of our lives searching for Christmas bells and carousels in the wide wasteland of our often mundane world.

We bide our time waiting around for it doing what has to be done, trudging on through day after day of the daily routine. It’s hard not to get bored, I know. We aren’t made to be satisfied with the ordinary.

Every human knows that there should be more the same way golden plovers know their way across the unmarked ocean between Alaska and Hawaii.

The only way we become lost is if we forget that what we desire is not a disembodied dream for useless, senseless dreamers. It’s our motivation. It’s the longing for the time we all know will come when we won’t have to build a tabernacle to keep God’s glory anchored among us. A time when our anxiety at the fading of the music with be relieved. If our endurance holds, we will be satisfied.

Faith in God’s unending beauty and his plan to transfigure us is our motivation. It’s our weapon against the despair of an increasingly dull, unromantic, stifling world that we’ve created for ourselves because we’ve lost our trust that we were meant for more. None of us will truly be satisfied by the beauty and goodness of this world. You don’t have to pretend to be.

But keep waiting, keep hoping, and keep reaching out for what is to come. Bring the beauty of the coming transfiguration of all creation to a world pretending to enjoy the mundane, the wasteland… and probably cereal.

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Photo courtesy of Dia™ and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

August Buehrer

is one of five other equally uncanny children living in a brambly forest in northeastern Indiana. She enjoys writing, making music, creating art, scaring the neighbors (those that stayed), and dancing by the light of the moon. She is fascinated by the great expanse of the universe and intent upon the pursuit of God.


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  • So right, August. Fleeting beauty will never satisfy and life can get mundane, so our hope is heaven, where beauty is everything there is. And still, at the same time, we seek to bring a taste of heaven to earth. We seek beauty. We create beauty. And we recognise the beauty that God has put in this world, however small, however temporary.

  • Yes, I agree with what you are saying. Beauty and anything else we encounter from this world will not last or truly satisfy. The truly spectacular moments are the glimpses of beauty infused with God- the sky at sunset, a bird’s song, a mother caring for her baby. The moment still fades away quickly, but the impression it leaves on your heart lingers on and is not quickly forgotten. There is something about seeing a peak into God’s heart displayed through His creation that you just don’t forget!!

    I see this a lot in my daily life. I dance, and dancing is creating something beautiful. However, dance in and of itself is a short-lived, draining and empty beauty. And it is quickly forgotten by those who see it. Yet when I step out of the way and let God fill the movement that He gives me with His thick presence, it is an encounter that neither dancer nor audience will forget soon. God is the only real and lasting beauty; the moments in life that we find beautiful are just a reflection of Him and His glory!!

    1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    God bless! I pray you see a glimpse of Him today! 🙂

    Loved and Never Alone,
    Amanda T.

  • I absolutely love this, August! I struggle a lot with feeling like my life is boring, even though, in reality, my life is full of blessings. I love what you said about that feeling being a longing for the beauty of our Father.

    Ah! I feel like I can’t pull my thoughts together this morning. My point is, I loved your article and it was very thought-provoking. Now I have to go eat breakfast… probably cereal. (that’s so me, lol:)

    God bless!

  • Lol. I enjoyed this post and I especially enjoyed the author’s blurb. Me and my siblings/friends refer to ‘scaring the natives’ quite frequently. 🙂 Made me laugh. And no matter how fleeting beauty is seeking it out is so worth it. There’s a moon tonight and I need a dance.

  • You’re right. Life is like a dull ache. Inside us, there is a desire to keep exploring. God put that desire in us so we can look and be fascinated by His creation. There has to be more to this life than being bored, exploding, and eating cereal!

  • God’s beauty is the most beautiful! From nature to seeing the beautiful smiles of children whom you show Jesus too, the most beautiful things are made when God is a part of it. Nothing in the world can compare to the beauty of God.

  • I have been feeling this way for a very long time now. Thank you for putting into words what I could not. And I will say, I know that I feel this way because I cannot be satisfied outside of God. He can satisfy me, and I am just looking for satisfaction in other places (novel experiences etc). And I look forward to the one day when I will know what true satisfaction feels like.

  • This is so true. I can’t describe how often I feel like this. But I like to dream of days when I can do something big, something hard, but then life sucks me back in, and drags me back down. God is amazing though, and His love and beauty is never ending. Great post. 🙂

  • Terrific article! Sometimes, we forget that all of life is fleeting; and all things that the world pursues are as well. Life can definitely boring, or ‘normal’ but, (and here’s the secret) only if we will let it! If we use our desire for more beauty, more of something else worth living for, than that can fuel our passion for God.

    I will never forget the words a youth leader said to a group once while at a camp: “This spiritual ‘high’ you’re experiencing now, doesn’t have to end after this camp ends. If you’re willing to pursue God with all your hearts and lives, you can have this joy every day.” The question is, will we pursue it?

    This also reminds me of the ‘God-shaped vacuum’ that Pascal wrote about. How every human has a yearning in their heart, yet they try to fill it worth earthly things. The things of this earth will not satisfy, nor will its beauty compare to what God has in store later on. However, if we keep our eyes on Him (“The author and perfector of our faith.”), He will show us His beauty so we can praise Him all the more!

    To She For Whom The Raven Winks, well done.

  • August, thank you for sharing the truth about beauty. I really appreciated the sense of searching you portrayed. Too often we forget about beauty. We are stuck in the “the mundane, the wasteland… and probably cereal.” This article reminded me of Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. In that book, he speaks about how we don’t see life clearly. We look at life – as 1 Corinthians says – through a glass darkly, kinda like trying to see your face in the bathroom mirror after taking a shower. It’s all fuzzy and blurry – and maybe that thing is my nose. 🙂

    Beauty so often comes and removes that spiritual fog. We see what is going on. We see the purpose. And then somebody else takes a shower – and life gets foggy again.

    Thank you for the reminder to seek beauty – to seek spiritual sight in a world that is rapidly growing foggier.

    In Christ,

  • This post was a big conformation to me. God has been trying to teach me something (I realize this now) and I haven’t been listening. I thought I should share.
    I had been thinking recently that I need to “find myself”. I need to discover what I want to do with my life and begin that journey. I was thinking all of this as if my life hasn’t already begun, like I need to “find myself” to know how to live. This idea also comes in the form of, “believe in yourself”, “discover life”, “be yourself” and others. But then I thought that these cat poster words can’t be all there is to life. So I was laying in my bed one late night, praying and thinking about who I was supposed to be, when God said “I hope you never find yourself”. That was kind of a shock to me, I thought that was what I was supposed to do and here God is, telling me to not pursue my one purpose.
    I continued to pray and he continued to explain that my one purpose should be Him. I don’t need to find the perfect job, the perfect relationship or the perfect talent. Finding myself would mean discovering this perfect idea and staying there, just stopping. I would find it, hold on to it and never move on.
    God created this world for us to enjoy and love, we should never stop when we find something we love, but it should spur us on to want more. It’s just like a little child who is seeing something for the first time, he’s amazed and he wants to see more. God is our daddy who wants to show more to us. He loves doing that! It gives him so much joy to see your reactions to His creation. Never lose your child-like wonder.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Thank you for that article, August! It’s hard sometimes to wait on God. The mundane moments of life just seem to never end, and I sometimes get the feeling that I could be doing something more worthwhile than working and going to college. But I’ve learned that it’s in those boring moments (sometimes just going-through-the-motions kind of moments) that God reveals the beauty of the simple. The beauty in those simple, fleeting moments in the mist of the mundane.

    For me, I get that tingling, jittery feeling every time I drive over my favorite bridge, which over-looks a lake on one side and a forest-filled valley on the other. I see it all the time, so it should just feel mundane and familiar to me (at least that’s what my brother has hinted to a few times). But I always see something I’ve never seen before. It can be something simple, like the color of a tree, but I know that God had that one little thing stand out just for me! And i get this warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

    I treasure those moments, because, like you said, it’s fleeting. And then I’m back to watching where I’m driving and thinking about what I have to do at work or at home or at school. Those moments don’t last. But when they do come, I get my little version of heaven on earth. My little morsel of God’s creative eternal beauty. A simple beauty that was made just for me at just the right moment!


  • I have to say …nice post! In a world where life can be mundane and beauty fading, I’m so thankful that our Father’s unrelenting love is one beauty that will never ever fade. I’m just guessing, August, that you really like cereal. 🙂

  • Hmmmm… Pretty heady stuff for a youngster… Uhhh just wondering about the Raven… Dark…. I always think of like a “dark raven haired beauty”. (movie line I think)…
    Anyway… I am a poet… And a sometimes deep dark thinker… Words can paint an intense vibrant collage of whimsical skitter-skatter. That dares the mind to assimilate a coherent thought. To a long, deep, flowing river of melancholy that begs you, by your imagination. To round a thousand beckoning bends of mystery..
    My point is… You did a great job of describing the mindset of a large group of people. And you did it in a way the helped them relate..
    A gift I would assert… One that if guided by the Holy Spirit can minister healing… A gift of great worth… Write on! 😉

  • I love your thoughts here. Thanks for sharing them. I really enjoyed reading this article especially as it puts words to some of the things I have been feeling lately and given me more to think about and mull over. 🙂

  • Exactly! I hate it when I’m walking through the woods and see something beautiful, and then realize that if I capture it with a camera, it won’t be the same, that I will eventually get tired of the once beautiful picture and throw it away, and then I realize that if I don’t find some way to keep it with me, it will disappear, and then it’s gone and I finally realize that all the time I’ve spent worrying about how I’m going to capture the beautiful thing, I’ve wasted with my greedy thoughts. And yet Jesus said in the Bible,

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21 (English Standard Version)

    Thanks so much August!

    • I had that same problem. I saw a beautiful sunset recently – it was all pink and purple and blue with gold at the edge. I was like “Wow! That’s so gorgeous, I’m gonna take a photo of it!” but when I looked at the photo, I was really disappointed. It was all dark because the camera hadn’t captured the effect of the light. Then I realised that I didn’t need to save the photo on my camera because God painted the sky afresh every morning and evening. Now every time I see a sunrise, I thank God for his glory and majesty.

  • “We aren’t made to be satisfied with the ordinary.” Spot on, awesome article!
    Here comes a ‘you know the words, sing it with me’ moment…

    “I have come so that they may have life, and have it in abundance!” John 10:10

  • My latest run-in with beauty: my first pair of glasses only a couple months ago. I could tell it was a pine tree, I could see the branches, I knew it was made of needles. (put glasses on) Wow!!!!! I can see individual needles! tiny details! sharp contrast! bright colours! did God really make the world this amazing!?!!! I can see so clearly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hahahahaha I remember having the same experience when I first got glasses! That was like seven years ago and my eyes are in steady decline :). Let’s hear it for contacts!

  • You know Raven–may I call you August?–finding God’s will for your life (as in, what your God-appointed purpose and mission is, your lifework) and carefully following the Lord’s leading through thick and thin is the most exciting thing that I could recommend to you. It has been for me. P.S. Living in the United States as you do, you have A LOT to be thankful for, and, if you count your blessings, you could even be excited about God’s provision for, let’s say, cereal! =v) The one thing obviously missing from your wake up, eat, school, eat, etc. list was: wake up, meet with the Almighty God of the universe and enjoy His Word and His presence, eat, etc. But you mentioned the spiritual aspect later in the article. Truly, if God is not in your life, then, as the Ecclesiastes says, “everything is meaningless.”

By August Buehrer
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →