Can beauty and pain co-exist?

McWay Falls - Big Sur, CA May 1, 2013
McWay Falls – Big Sur, CA
May 1, 2013

My husband and I just completed a “bucket list” trip for both of us.  We flew to California; rented a mustang convertible and spent a week driving the pacific coast highway.  A friend asked me on a scale of 1-10 how would I rate our trip; without heistation I responded “12”!

Yes, a week ago today, I was standing in front of this stunning place.

As I stood there I saw some hikers coming up over the cliff edge immediately in front of me.  I was instantly curious (imagine that) and asked the gentleman if they were teaching a class on climbing. His response stunned me.  “No ma’am.  A woman lost her life here yesterday.  She walked out to the edge of the cliff  ‘to get a better picture’ where it is unstable, it gave way and she fell into the ocean.  She called out for help but the current overtook her before anyone could reach her.  We are examining the site and searching for her remains.”

I could not reconcile this tragedy with the beauty that just seconds ago had been saturating my soul.  I had “discovered” this beautiful place weeks before our vacation on the internet and I had been waiting for this moment to experience it real-time.  Conflicted doesn’t beging to describe what was transpiring within me.

Clarity came tonight.  But for the past week, I just knew I wasn’t going to let the enemy steal the gift of this beautiful place away from me and so other than my husband and I expressing our sympathy to the rescue team, I’ve not spoken of this to anyone.  John 10:10 tells us the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy; Jesus comes to bring life and life abundantly.  My motivation was not to give the enemy “any press” for what he’d done rather only to speak of the beauty My Heavenly Father created.  I truly had no clue until this evening that I was operating out of fear – fear that pain is greater than beauty and destroys it.

I walked into my acupuncturist’s office tonight for treatment for a cold.  As he assessed me, he said I’m definitely picking up the attack of the virus, but I am also picking up that you are very distraught, definitely fear.

Say what?  I just finished the vacation of my life …. distraught? Fear?  What was he talking about?  I showed him some of our trip pictures.  He was quiet and then asked – what were you doing 9 days ago?  I counted backwards … well we were at McWay Falls, that beautiful photo I just showed you …. oh my …. all the conflict welled back up within me.

As I lay quietly during the treatment I didn’t want to think about the pain that had transpired in that beautiful place.  I was afraid the pain would consume and destroy the beauty I had waited for and experienced.  I heard the question come from my heart that is the title of this post – “can beauty and pain co-exist”?  

The answer I heard from my Heavenly Father was “just look at your own heart.  It’s beautiful.  It loves and loves and loves even though it suffers pain.”  Couldn’t argue with that one.

My next question:  So how does that work Lord?

The revelation that came to me was this:  when the veil in the temple tore when Jesus was crucified – the beauty of heaven permeated earth and all its pain.  It has been doing so ever since.  Just like this water fall flows continuously onto this beach with fresh water; just as the tides continually washes over each grain of sand; the beauty of heaven flows into this earth and washes over each life to permeate and wash away the pain.  The only way pain wins is if you hold onto it.

That’s what I’d been doing.  Trying to bury the pain and therefore holding it in, rather than letting go and letting God wash it away with His beauty.

Amazing enough in itself.  But there’s more. 🙂

I had another question.  What do I need to know about this fear Father?

The revelation that came was “you believe that if this woman had been more afraid, it would have kept her safe; actually, wisdom is what would have kept her safe.  There were signs all around that warned of unstable cliffs.  She ignored the wisdom they offered.”

In that moment I came out of agreement with the lie that fear can keep me safer than wisdom.  I came into agreement with the truth in 1 Corinthians 1:30 “Because of God you are ·in [united with; in relationship with] Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God” .  Listening and following wisdom/Jesus keeps me safer than fear ever can.

So the answer to my question is yes:  beauty and pain can co-exist, it’s my/our choice of which one we take hold.  Wisdom tells me let beauty work its healing balm.

I hope the beauty below is a balm wherever you need it in your life.  I have so much more to share with you in the days to come!

2nd view of McWay Falls May 1, 2013
2nd view of McWay Falls May 1, 2013
Beach at McWay Falls, Big Sur CA, May 1, 2013
Beach at McWay Falls, Big Sur CA, May 1, 2013


Coastline north of McWay Falls, Big Sur, CA May 1, 2013
Coastline north of McWay Falls, Big Sur, CA
May 1, 2013
Sunset over Inn at Spanish Bay April 29, 2013 Who knows where this beauty may lead?
Sunset over Inn at Spanish Bay
April 29, 2013
Who knows where this beauty may lead?

8 thoughts on “Can beauty and pain co-exist?

  1. Diane- So glad to hear you are back home. Am sorry about your cold. I loved the pictures and also what the Lord taught you. It seems similar to how these words from Isaiah became a reality to me recently even though I had read and heard them many times. “Surely He has borne our griefs and sorrows”. Rather than being bogged down by our or others griefs and sorrows, He wants us to let Him bear them for us. Made me think of the old story about the man who got picked up and given a ride. He had a bundle he was carrying which he continued to let weigh him down even in the truck until the driver asked him why didn’t he let go the bundle and let the truck carry it for him. I love you, Deena

  2. When I was a teenager hiking in Laguna Beach, CA with my sister, her boyfriend (now husband), my brother, and my brother’s friend… my brother’s friend slipped and fell down just above a cliff like this (in front of me)… I was right behind this boy, and was walking and looking at the beauty of the cove… When the boy fell, and if I had not seen him, I would have knocked him into and down the cliff, but instead, I twisted my body to miss him… which then caused me to slide/fall down the cliff into the water…

    I can remember grabbing at the dirt and rock trying to stop my decent into the water… but nothing would hold. I landed straight upright in the water up to my hips… upright completely!

    And the scary thought I had, was the thought of sharks in the water… (JAWS the movie had recently played in theaters).

    My fingers were skinned from trying to grab, I had a couple of cuts on my legs; I was VERY LUCKY! I remember walking away thinking that I would NOT let this scare me of heights, or hiking, or anything else for that matter… except maybe still… SHARKS!

    I haven’t thought of that fall for YEARS! I am blessed that I lived through it… with minor incident.

    I am so happy to hear that you got to check something off your Bucket List! That is the most exciting thing! And I truly believe that the Lord was with me – that it wasn’t my time… yet.

    Can BEAUTY & PAIN co-exist? All my life….

    1. You are blessed indeed and I am thankful for that! I’ve continued to think about this and would have to agree that beauty and pain do co-exist all our lives … the birth process itself is comprised of both. The more I ponder it the more I become convinced that beauty destroys pain rather than my original fear that the pain would destroy the beauty. Go beauty!!

  3. Diane, I keep coming back and looking at the pics. They give me peace. I pray to some day see this place. love you xoxo

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