I lay curled up in bed one night, too tired to sleep too tired to be actively doing anything. Instead of grabbing a book or trying to absorb new information, I turned to Netflix. There was a curious title on the list. Collateral Beauty. It had Will Smith so I decided to watch.
Without betraying the movie in case you want to watch it, there is a scene where a character explains collateral beauty. She says when her daughter was dying at the hospital an old lady said “just make sure you notice the collateral beauty”. She described it as the profound connection to everything she would come to recognize some time after her daughter passed. Her comment “It’ll never bring her back and it will never ever make it okay, but I promise you its there” just punctured the dam and the rivers started to flow.
If Websters Dictionary defines collateral damage as injury inflicted on something other than an intended target specifically. For me then collateral beauty is the beauty and meaning to life discovered unintentionally as a result of an ugly occurrence. Collateral beauty unveils daily in the eyes of my boys. I sense it in the intense empathy I now feel for other people’s sorrow. It is made clear in the beauty of seasons and nature and art and all that is.
In plain language, tragedy forced me to grow up and slow down enough to look outside my bubble and see the world around me. I now acknowledge that my time is finite, that death is imminent and Love is all we have. He is all that matters. He is our raison d’être and every action and reaction should flow from that understanding.
Yet, He being Love, loves us as if there was no one else. He loves as if we were the most important things in the universe. He works our progress and our failures, our tragedies and our victories into a beautiful rendition of a poem called good. Now that I have another name for it, I’m going to use it. I will remind myself to look for collateral beauty in every circumstance I find myself in.