Monday, January 31, 2011

Beauty

Mike is very detail oriented. And I don't just mean the twenty minutes he spends ironing one shirt or the forty five minutes he can spend cleaning a single toilet. Mike notices everything. We can't drive down the street or go on a walk without him calling our attention to something. Whether it is a sunset, the buds forming on a tree, the architecture of a building or the way a shadow/lighting falls on an object. Mike notices it all.

It's never been one of my favorite qualities of his. When I'm at Disneyland, I want to enjoy the rides, the characters and the atmosphere. Not the flowerbeds or the brickwork. When I'm at Buckingham Palace in London, I do not want to stop and look at the type of sprinkler head they use. When we are driving south on I-15 on our honeymoon, I want to talk about US, not be told to look out the window at every passing mountain peak.

As our children have gotten older, they are the same way. Mike and now our children notice EVERYTHING. There is rarely peace and quiet on our car-rides or family walks. (And it isn't JUST because of the fighting.) It's because of the never ending:
"Oh look at that."
"Look over there, hurry, don't miss it."
"Did you see that?"
"Oh that is cool."
"Now that is pretty."

Though I certainly appreciate a beautiful landscape and the wonders of nature, I don't usually notice them as frequently as Mike (or my children!).  But slowly, yet surely, Mike's observations have had an effect on me.  I have found myself being far more aware of the more intricate, less noticed beauties around me.

Take the other day for example.
While running along a local trail alone last week, something caught my eye. A faucet of sorts with water spray coming out was hidden amongst shrubs off to the side of the trail. The water had frozen into a beautiful 'shape.' I was proud of myself for noticing it, even more proud of myself for stopping to admire it and promptly thought I'd have to bring my family to see it. I knew they would love it. I couldn't wait!

Later that afternoon, taking full advantage of the fairly decent temperatures for January in Utah, I loaded Drew in the stroller. I instructed Luke and Joshua to get on their bikes, "There is something I want you to see." And off we headed.  In true Luke style, Luke sped off ahead of me and as I turned the corner, I saw that Luke had stopped in the middle of the trail.

My thoughts were:
He better not have stopped at what I want to show him.
I hope he has just stopped and won't notice it close by.
I want to show him what I 'found.'

As soon as I got within 'voice range' I heard Luke yell, "Mom, come see this. There is something really, really cool."  Instead of feeling disappointment that MY surprise was ruined, I smiled. A great big smile. My nine year old son, who so easily could have ridden right on by, paying no attention to the simple beauties around him noticed a simple water-spray-turned-ice-sculpture.


And I was glad.
It reminded me of an idea I once heard, about the day we meet God.  Perhaps He won't simply ask us the standard questions about whether or not we served our fellowman well, or did we truly love one another, or did we obey the commandments.  Maybe He's going to throw in a few questions that will really make people think about before they answer, "How did you like all those variety of trees around you?"  "Did you enjoy all those sunsets and sunrises?"  "How often did you visit those beautiful mountains I created, minutes from your home?"  Will we be able to tell God that we loved and enjoyed and even noticed His creations?

I've decided I'm not going to snap responses as much anymore that sound like, "No, I didn't see it, maybe I was looking at something else." or "It's a tree. Big deal." or "Aagh, let's just have quiet time and enjoy the drive."

I'm going to follow the example of Mike and my kids on this one.

I'm not going to just live in beautiful surroundings anymore, I'm going to notice them.

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