I saw Josh Groban in concert last week. Yes, I know some people think he’s a poser or whatever else, but I like him, so I went. It was a more intimate setting than when I heard him many moons ago in an arena–this time, he performed in a warm theater, surrounded by chandeliers, velvet curtains, and oriental rugs. The lights dimmed, the music started, and my relaxed mind started to wander and consider why we are so attracted to this perception of beauty.
Does the grand piano and wooden paneling signify a “nod” to the past? A nostalgic feeling of a by-gone era of yesterday that, even though my generation has never experienced in person, we have soaked up from our grandparents’ stories and filled in with our imaginations? A romanticized feeling that will diminish when my peers and I are unable to fill in the blanks for our children?
Or are the elements of classical music and beautiful clothes something we have learned from movies or history class? We have been introduced to descriptions of “classy” and “elegance” from watching Downton Abbey or Titanic and our brains feel more at ease when we can identify similar aspects in our own everyday lives, even though our personal environments look nothing like them.
Or are we programmed to identify and then appreciate beauty? Bold colors, crafted instruments, and ornate details have been around for the entirety of human history, signifying royalty, wealth, and desirability. We may assume these displays are elements of greed or selfishness, but God gives us a different idea with his detailed, crafted, and expensive version of a holy house.
I don’t think it’s wrong to enjoy nice things. In fact, I think God originated nice things and wants us to have them and it’s humanity’s problems that have led us to rob, burn, and destroy instead of crafting and creating and gifting and enjoying. I want to go back to the talent of a singer causing appreciation instead of sarcasm, the skills of a painter inspiring others instead of creating controversy, and the talent of a carpet marker adding timeless elegance to my home so I can share and celebrate with others.
Classical singers, like Josh Groban, may eventually become a faded picture of beauty, but the gifts of music, elegance, and bringing people together that they remind us of are eternal.