Here, at the end of the day
Can I go back
And have a do over for the moments I spent today?
So, I can hold for a moment now
What I realize I missed then.
As I went from this to that.
Going down my list.
Everything on it important.
Can I have a do over?
So I can pay more attention in that moment just past.
And, take a bit more time to enjoy that chance conversation.
And, to listen better.
And, to listen even better than that.
But, there are no do overs for moments already spent.
Today I just sat.
Taking time to look at the fall colors splashed across the mountain in front of me. This may have been my last chance this year to see the colors like this. Tomorrow the forecast is for rain. Then, in another few days, the colors will be faded to brown and the leaves will be gone leaving the trees to get ready for the winter snow.
It made me remember a time when I visited a friend in Colorado.
The backdrop to where he lived was the Rocky Mountains.
But as I watched it seemed like everyone there went about their business no longer allowing their breath to be taken away by the splendor of the mountains at their doorsteps. I decided then, just as I decided today, I do not want to be that person.
So today I just sat.
Long enough to allow the beauty to push its way past my impatience and into my life.
And so we pause long enough to pray, O God.
Slowing down long enough;
Stopping long enough;
To pay attention
To the state of our own hearts and minds and souls.
And pay attention to our sisters and brothers;
And to the world entrusted now to our care and keeping.
To pay attention to the sadness and sorrow and despair which robs so many of the life you intend for us and for all. And, to pay attention to the gratitude and joy and love which makes life rich and deep and full.
And we pray for one another and for those beyond our reach may we pray, too, for ourselves as we seek to faithfully walk in the way of Jesus who claimed, even in the face of death and all death’s works and wiles that love wins. God’s love wins. May our lives reflect that promise and that truth.
In the face of all of that and more, today I am going to do two things.
First, I will acknowledge the suffering and pain and heartbreak that surround so many and, to the extent that I am able, allow it it break my heart as well.
Second, I am going to pay close attention to the goodness which brushes up against my life today which will never make the headlines in the news.
The gift of a grandchild.
The support that surrounds a family in a time of need.
The moment I have to pray. Please. Thank you. Please. Wow.
Food being prepared to share with others.
I don’t want to ignore or to turn away from what is the reality of so many, but at the same time I don’t want to forget the goodness and grace which brushes up against our lives each day.
This morning I hiked for several hours on the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail in the Green Mountains in Vermont. Most of the trail looks something like this.
Because of that you need to pay attention to where you are going.
The last thing you want to do a mile or more up the trail, with no guarantee that you will see anyone else, is to take a misstep and twist your ankle or fall and hit your head. So most of the time you hike looking down. But, that way of hiking comes with a cost. If you only look down you may miss the markers that designate the trail.
Or, even worse, the beauty which surrounds you.
The trick, I realized, is to make sure you take the time to look up.
But, this is not just about a walk in the woods, is it?
The trick, you see, is to make sure you look up.
It was not a particularly challenging day, but it was a busy day filled with one thing right after the another. A hundred small details to think about and to decide about.
One task done. Another one waiting.
One decision made. Another decision took its place.
After a day of that I headed home and left work and headed home with a slight headache.
For me, headaches are one sign my life is out of balance.
I walked into our house and the first thing I saw were the dishes that we had not done the night before.
One more thing!
So before starting dinner, I started washing the dishes.
Just me and the warm water and the pots and pans.
I remembered a book I read years ago The Practice of the Presence of God.
Brother Lawrence concentrated on finding something of God in the most ordinary moments of life. Like washing dishes.
For those few moments, I tried to do the same.