It’s like when someone shows up at the formal party wearing a t-shirt and jeans. We can’t help noticing that which is different.
The quote I read had a similar effect.
Albert Camus on Beauty
The quote was by the philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning author Albert Camus. He said:
Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.
At first I thought about how strange a quote it was.
For someone to portray beauty in such a negative light- to consider it a thing to be avoided- is, at best, bizarre.
But then, a moment later, I began to think about whether it might possibly be true.
It had to be weddings.
Yes, weddings seemed to make sense. That’s where it was- the memory, the feeling, which Camus had managed to dig up from some old forgotten chamber in my mind.
It was at weddings that I’d felt the unbearable glimpse.
Beauty At A Wedding
I don’t like weddings, to be honest.
They’re too formal, and too long. Actually, I think the real reason is that they’re too predictable. Watching a wedding is like watching a football game after you’ve already seen the final score- the plays lose their sense of drama, their sense of action.
Though it pains me to say this, I think what we really need is for weddings to be more like a Julia Roberts movie.
If I could go to a wedding where there was a decent chance the bride might high tail it back down the aisle and out the door before the whole thing was over… now that’s a wedding I’d be glad to attend.
I’d even bring a camera.
There’s a moment, though, in just about every wedding I’ve been to- a moment where even I can’t joke about (let alone deny) the beauty of what’s occurring.
I don’t know what exactly that moment is.
I just know that it’s there.
And I think this moment may be the very sort of moment Camus described. A moment when we witness something so good and beautiful that it’s actually too good, too beautiful.
This moment drives us mad, makes us wish we’d never even experienced it, because we recognize the instant it begins that it’s also going to end.
And sometimes, it really seems as though the pain of losing outweighs the joy of gaining.
Sometimes, the glimpse really does seem to be unbearable.
This week’s topic (also known as the Weekly Curiosity) is beauty. Check back each weekday at 12:34pm for a new post exploring this idea. In the meantime, here are three ways you can join the quest: