Beauty is a need, not a luxury. It took me a really long time to realize that and I'm not sure why. I think it's because like most modern day city dwellers, when I thought about "beauty" I associated it with something that could be purchased and owned. A beautiful dress or beautiful things for my house, even a bouquet of flowers from the Farmer's Market. When money is tight (which it perpetually is) it's hard for my practical side to justify purchases that don't have immediate and concrete value.
The problem is that when I am starved of beauty, I am starved in spirit. I get listless, restless and a little depressed. Then I rebel, and usually that involves thoughtless spending that doesn't actually make the problem any better. A cup of coffee while I'm out running errands or a dinner out because I'm cranky and don't want to cook. I'm impatient and occasionally, unkind.
The reason I have associated beauty with purchase and posession, I think, is a longing for permance, a reminder that my soul is made for an eternity this world just doesn't offer. Beauty is a source of hope, comfort and inspiration as I tread on the sometimes difficult journey towards home. It's a gift from God to sustain me on the path, and it doesn't come with a price tag if I am willing to accept it as it comes, in nature, in a gift from a friend or a in a new point of view. Seeking it and recognizing it instead of forcing it. Trusting that tomorrow will bring a different sort of beauty and new experiences that bring me ever closer to home.