I sit with my friend William West in a side chapel of Manchester Cathedral, a place we are both fond of, and visit together when we meet up in Manchester.
I find myself contemplating the nature of beauty: in relation to a particular person, but it has relevance to us all.
There is the beauty we are born with, the inner grace(fulness) that comes from – is an expression of – God, or Love, or All-that-is. We see this particularly in babies and young children.
Secondly there is the beauty we develop as we grow, that which shines in the world, that which forms our attractiveness to others. It may be primarily outer, or primarily inner beauty, or a mixture of the two. We, and those around us, can help that beauty to develop, or we can hinder and destroy it. We see this particularly in young people.
And there is the beauty that may emerge if we manage to transcend the suffering that life inevitably makes us go through. How do we handle it? Will we survive it?
If we transcend that suffering – if we learn, maybe with support from others, how to deal with it without running from it, without being swamped by it; if we learn maybe how to transform it within us so that we shine in a new and more comprehensive way – then a new and precious form of beauty will manifest in us and be appreciated and loved by those who recognise it.