"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue
and if there is anything praiseworthy --
meditate on these things."
I memorized this when I was ten. And was irritated by it. It seems so impossible in a world full of ugly. It requires a training of the mind. It isn't that ugly isn't there when you choose to look at beauty. But you can make a conscious choice to hope. To see light in His light. To suffer pain and sorrow, and still smile at your child's laugh.
In severe pain, when I saw no good future, and wondered if I was going to live, I could still see a lovely thing here and there. Just looking at the way the light falls on a rock wall, and the yellow leaves hanging over it, and noticing it, and absorbing its loveliness can minister to your soul. Choose to see.
Is it pretending to have a better life than you do? Not if it's true. The enemy would have us look at every dark corner, every squalid pain. I think of Corrie Ten Boom's book when she recounted the miserable colorless existence inside a cell. But she (or was it her sister?) pulled out colored threads and embroidered them onto her nightgown.
Lord, train our eyes to see and our hands to sew the colored threads You give into the drabness of our experiences.