Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How To See

It was a gloriously warm, summer-like day.

I was happy.
I wasn't yelling (much) and our little exploration had turned into a winner in that we had spotted turtles in the wetland - something we'd never seen on previous nature walks at that particular location.  
The kids were excited, contented, playing, and most of all, they weren't bickering, complaining or fighting with one another.

It was bliss.

Even the antics of this boy -  my wild-child, as I call him, couldn't disrupt the beauty of our meditative outdoor enjoyment.  So when his drawing paper landed amidst Water Striders and Whirlygig Beetles in the glassy, aquamarine water, I calmly scooped them up with little more than a sigh, and laid the papers to dry on the dock in the unusually hot May sun.  It wasn't even breezy (which is unusual for our city), so in a matter of minutes the accidental near-drowning of drawing papers was forgotten.

I wonder: Why can't every day be like this?

I told my husband later that night, as we stood in the kitchen wiping up crumbs and putting away pots and pans, "See.... the sun makes me so happy!  I'm made to be in warm places!"

And it's true.  I gain an unusual contentment from long, summer days.  Winter is my hibernation - I eat too much, feel sluggish, want to sleep more and often find it difficult to face day after day of cold weather that coops us up indoors. I can relate to the dormancy of a deciduous tree - barren, no life apparent, waiting for the kiss of the sun and warm weather to "spring" forth with green buds; welcoming the chorus of songbirds and awakened with the promise of a fruitful summer.

Yet, as I looked at my pictures and strained to see the beautiful moments that I felt so strongly, I was surprised that I was scrolling through mediocre snapshots, not stunning works of art.  My heart remembers the warmth, happiness and joy - but the images captured with my iPhone don't come close to expressing the true beauty we indulged upon.  But my heart is still happy.

How much more so is my life a snapshot in time?

Can I look for the beauty - glorious moments where life and love pop up, unexpectedly - even when skies are gray?

If only I could remember and abhor my proclivity to be too busy, too sharp, too narrow-minded...

Often, it's when I'm finally quiet, breathing slowly, eyes closed and unsuccessfully attempting to sleep that I finally remember

Each day is filled with opportunities for wonder
if I could slow myself enough to notice.

My children are marvelous creatures who are always learning, growing and changing and I can hurry them along, or try to see life through their eyes by taking time to really listen.

In the pauses; the deceleration of our minds and hearts, we see more clearly and begin to hear the melody of life's symphony.

When we train our eyes to look for the beautiful, we find that as Dostoyevski said:

"Beauty will save the world."

Because it's the ugliness of my wrong intentions, my false expectations and misperceptions that are ruining me.  I don't see beauty because my eyes are drawn far too quickly to the soiled, the broken, the misleading.  And it wears me down.

I'm not naturally a "glass half-full" sort of person.  But there are moments in time, flashes of inspiration and divine unfolding when the dust and smog of the pains and cares of this world peel away and I truly see, and breathe, and absorb what I believe this world was meant to be.

There are moments in life when you can't deny the God-tinged, unearthly and unspoiled illumination.  Like when my last baby was born and I held him - still blueish with waxy, vernix-smeared skin and then his eyes opened on this side of earth for the first time, and his little lungs sucked in his fist breaths, and I beheld life: freshly kissed by heaven.

When we see beauty, we see the Divine.
 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen" -Romans 1:20
Who doesn't gawk with awe at the mighty Rocky Mountains?  Who doesn't gasp at the awesome roar of thunder?  Something within us all is set to respond to the magnificence of earth.

My aim, then, is to peer at the world in anticipation.
To watch, to wait, and then to wonder

"Then sings my soul, my God, how great thou art."
Carl Gustav Boberg (1859–1940)


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