My dream existence

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Superfluous Has a Point and Useless is Good

Men often wonder why women are so pleased by things like boxes of chocolate, bouquets of flowers, a pretty dress, fancy soap, and old china. Oftentimes, men themselves would naturally be much more inclined to like and give things that are useful, like a set of tools, a new electronic device, a month of gas for the car, or something of that nature. While we women certainly understand the value of such items, we rarely get that same thrill of pure unadulterated joy as we do when we behold a frilly Easter hat, a budding rose, or a footed teacup.

So why do we tend to go for "knick-knacks," these decorative, but not necessarily always useful bits of beauty and fun?

I think it's because God wanted humans to experience a bit of his own thrill in superfluousness. After all, He is the One Who decided to create the world in the first place, a bit of superfluousness in and of itself. Compared with God Himself, the world has no great value at all, but He had so much Love that He decided to create a world and people to share His wealth. And when this fairly insignificant world was created, God took great pleasure in it. He pronounced it good, and walked in the garden with mankind, taking delight in the beauties of His creation, despite the fact that they added nothing whatsoever to His Being, despite the fact that they were not really "useful" to Him.

Isn't that the way women enjoy "frivolous" "useless" things--bits of lace, porcelain figures in elegant poses, and silk-covered stilettos? We don't need them; they're not particularly useful; they're just pretty, and we absolutely love them.

I think God entrusted women with a mission to bring this sense of gratuitous goodness into the world. Men couldn't do it because they were created with a nature that's all about justice. It doesn't make "sense" to enjoy these silly things; they're not worth it. And men are right, so far as it goes. But women were created with a nature that's all about love, and love is all about beauty, and true love overflows without ceasing until it encompasses everything within reach. Women know about the insanity of love, the "injustice" of love. Their very bodies are a monument to this. Because of this intimate understanding of the gratuitous nature of love, it actually makes great sense that women should be able to derive great joy from little, useless, silly things. It is precisely these things that bring beauty into our lives, and it is precisely in our enjoyment of them that we mirror God's own enjoyment of His creation.

**disclaimer: Obviously, not all men are totally robot-practical, and incapable of sensitivity to these "superfluous" things. Also, not all women are as pleased by "useless" things as are others. Still, in general, men and women tend to look at these things differently. Regardless, the fundamental point about "gratuity" being good is still worth making.


Kitchen Madonna said...

Gorgeous post! We do need these little bits and scrapes of beauty! I've tried to describe this but you've "hit" the lace doily on the head!

healthily sanguine said...

Amen, alleluia!