Obscure Beauty

Pondering yesterday’s posts, on The Little Drummer Boy and on software that runs mazes, got me to thinking about obscure beauty.

There’s a beauty to well-written software. I’m not talking about attractive user interfaces or pretty graphics; I’m talking about how the software is put together inside, the way the individual pieces fit together. Well-designed software is pleasant to contemplate, and easy to modify and extend. Everything just works, and it’s easy to find things. Solving a software problem in a beautiful way can be an absolute joy.

Some few of my readers (the programmers, or at least some of them) are nodding their heads. The rest of you are shaking them, or, at best, thinking, “Yes, I can see how that could be true…but I certainly can’t see the beauty myself.” It’s an obscure kind of beauty, one that could only be appreciated by a very few people. And then, of those who might be able to see the beauty, I might be the only one who ever sees it. I may never make this code public, and even if I do, there’s no guarantee that anyone else would look at it.

But here’s the thing. God is the Good, the True, the Beautiful. Everything that is beautiful participates in the beauty of God; and to appreciate something beautiful is to in some small measure give glory to God, knowingly or unknowingly. Recognizing the beauty of creation and glorifying God is one of our functions on this earth.

Now, I spent the weekend making George run through mazes, and delighting in the software I was writing. Is it useful software? I dunno. Was my time spent productively? I dunno. But drummer boys gotta drum, and I gotta code…and I can offer the beauty of that code to God. And it’s likely that I’m the only person in the whole of time and space who will ever offer exactly that small obscure beauty to His Glory. And that’s a great and glorious thing. Makes me feel special.

But if there’s beauty that I’m uniquely suited to spot, there’s beauty that you’re uniquely suited to spot, either because of your interests and talents, or simply because of your place and time. Let’s not miss it.

WordPress Themes