Collateral Beauty and Finding Joy in Pain

First the updates on physical therapy and occupuational therapy:

Occupational Therapy:

I have continued to make improvements. Sometimes it feels very small, but they add up and my left wrist has come so very far!

February 26th
Today

Physical Therapy:

Today I got the all clear to begin walking with a cane. As I transition from the walker to a cane, I will be going back and forth between the two, depending on my pain and energy level that day. I have made a lot of progress in a short time, but I’m also listening to my body, and some days, I just need to take a break.

Songs:

From my mom….

Others to focus on…

Bible Verses:

From my mom…

Others to focus on…

On Collateral Beauty and Joy

I came across a #speaklife post on TobyMac’s Facebook page today that really stood out to me. You can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/tobymac/photos/a.241173571178/10157853493436179/

This quote really stood out to me. In December, my life changed forever. Certainly, I never would have thought I’d be facing so many injuries and challenges in the days ahead so quickly. But this is the story I’m in. This is what I’ve living day to day. Yet there is much joy among these challenges, even among the pain.

I’ve been thinking about the movie Collateral Beauty. It came out in 2016, staring Will Smith and Keira Knightley. Ben and I saw it in the theater. One thing that really stood out to me in this movie is the idea that even in great pain, there is beauty. The movie refers to this as “Collateral Beauty.” Collateral has several definitions, but one of them is defined as additional but subordinate; secondary. Secondary beauty. Beauty that wasn’t first choice, or something you even wanted to have happen, but beauty nonetheless.

Near the end of the movie, one of the characters says “Just make sure you notice the Collateral Beauty.” Since watching this movie, I’ve thought about the phrase ‘Collateral Beauty’ often. Collateral beauty involves the little things people do and say in the really tough times, like sending care packages and kind messages. It’s a butterfly flittering across the grass and into the sky the day after a storm has come through, and a neighbor helping someone clean up their yard when a tree falls. Sure, we might prefer that the accident never happen, the storm never come or the tree never fall, but there is so much beauty, so much good that can come of it.

If I had a choice in all of this, I would have chosen to not be in a wreck in the first place. That would have been best case scenario in my mind at least, to be whole and not broken from a wreck. But if this was the case, I wouldn’t have had all the good things in between, the kind words, the care packages, meals, and so many other ways people have helped out. Honestly, there has been more “Collateral Beauty” in all of this, than there ever would have been beauty had I been able to choose not to be in an accident. I think the more difficult the experience, the more beauty can be found. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean any of this has been easy or that I don’t have days that are rough. But even in that, there is beauty.

With finding that beauty, comes joy. Joy isn’t just about being happy. It is both a verb and a noun, so while it means ‘a feeling of great pleasure and happiness,’ it is also a verb meaning ‘rejoice.’ Looking for collateral beauty in our darkest moments can help us to find joy. We can rejoice, or show great delight even in tough situations because we see the beauty that is there too.

My faith helps me a lot in this. As a Christian, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that God can and will work all things together for our good, even the bad things. The good isn’t always easy to see though. In dark moments, when the world seems so unfair and so very tough, it’s hard to look for the good. It’s hard to find joy in the Collateral Beauty around us. Our world wasn’t meant to be this way. It isn’t how it was created to be, isn’t how things were supposed to be and we know it. Collateral Beauty is second beauty precisely because it isn’t how the world was created to be. It’s beauty despite what has gone wrong, joy even in the darkest of moments.

When God works things together for our good, sometimes we don’t see right away. Sometimes it’s years down the road that we realize how He took a situation and turned it for our good. Other times, we can see right away, but I think more often than not, especially in very difficult situations, it’s not until years down the line, or perhaps not even this side of Heaven that we understand how God worked things together for our good. But we don’t always need to understand something to see the beauty in it. Joy is all around us, even in the toughest of times. It’s a gift, this collateral beauty that surrounds even the darkest of times. Sometimes we just have to look for it, but the light that comes from joy and collateral beauty will always outshine the darkness.

One thought on “Collateral Beauty and Finding Joy in Pain

  1. I’ve been reading The Problem of Pain, by C. S. Lewis, in which he makes the argument that nearly everything undesirable in this world is a result of the fall of man. I understand that’s what you’re talking about here. Well done.
    On the subject of the movie, however, I liked it well enough, but it doesn’t get beyond the surface of what it’s like to lose a child. It’s happened to me, so I know. Please don’t be upset if it’s happened to you, too, grieving is different for everyone.

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