Years ago, I had a very sad conversation with an elderly lady. We didn’t talk about loss or tragedy, instead, we talked about beauty.
The woman’s sister lived in one of the most scenic parts of the country that comes with harsh winters. When I asked her if the stunning mountains and lakes make up for the cold, she replied, “My sister says it all just becomes the background.”
I forgot about that exchange until recently. I was driving my youngest to school and the panoramic mountain views that normally make me gasp when we reach the top of the hill- didn’t.
The beauty became the background. It was a wake-up call. A warning sign. Something was off.
Life is complicated. There are schedules to manage, deadlines to meet and laundry always in need of folding. And when our calendars, our minds and our hearts get too cluttered it’s easy to miss the beauty all around us.
When our kid’s giggles don’t make us pause and say a quick prayer of thanks,
When our spouse touches the small of our back and we can’t feel that quick burst of love,
Or when we can’t see the presence of the divine in the nearby wheat field, the swaying palm trees, or the mountains,
it’s time to create pause. It’s time to look inwards and upwards. It’s time to start paying attention once more.
Because there is no line between the secular and the sacred. It’s all intertwined. The fingerprints of God mark it all.
Our job is to recognize it. We are meant to recognize the divine within ourselves and in each other. In nature and in the good things He inspired people to create.
And so in between pick-ups and drop-offs, in between assignments and loads of laundry, I will create pause, I will sit in awe, thank God for life’s beauty. I will slip up at times. But I will keep trying.
Because I don’t want to become an old woman who let the beauty of her life become the background.