Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things That Take My Breath Away

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to pray in and play in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." (John Muir)

Three weeks have whizzed by since I last wrote.  How can my days be filled so quickly and completely that they become just a blur?  Thank goodness I have the good sense to seek an "oasis" on Sunday afternoons, and to find some beauty, some healing and strength in just being still.

I recently read another blog where the writer had written an entry titled "Things That Take My Breath Away".  I enjoyed reading what they shared so much that I thought I'd use it myself.  So, let's go "wandering", and see what we see...

Things That Take My Breath Away

  • Views that seem to go on forever.  When I'm reminded that I am really just a very, very small part of a very big world.  And that all my scurrying and worrying really doesn't do much to change that world - but being willing to be a part of it, always changes me.

 View from Cape Perpetua, near Florence, Oregon
  • The pure, unadulterated (what a perfect word!) joy of children playing and exploring.  Kids are natural "masters" at this.  Why as we get older do we forget how to do this?  Too much to protect?  Too afraid to fall?  I want to keep remembering how to play - and that a "skinned knee" is just a "boo-boo", not the end of the world.

Our granddaugher Marley on the slide
  • The courage of one, standing for something true, inspite of what opposes them.  I was reminded today in class of the need for that kind of courage.  Not a courage born of strength and resistance, but a courage that because its roots are in humility, can see that in any moment of challenge all that's ever required is to take one small step.
"Tank Man" - Tianamen Square, Beijing China - 1989
  • Morning glories.  Every year we plant some in the front of our house, and I love them because of their beauty and shy optimism - always reminding me to "turn towards the light".  This year I didn't plant any.  But a half dozen plants came up anyway - and taught me an additional lesson about persistence!
Our morning glories
  • Sunrises and sunsets.  I can sit and look contentedly at them, anytime, anywhere.  Funny how I can feel so at peace with nature's daily "beginnings" and "endings", yet be so stirred up at times when I'm faced with a "beginning" (Monday morning, a new project, something unexpected) or an "ending" (a good time ends, something has to be fixed, I make a mistake).  Life's full of beginnings and endings - all can be used - for the good.
Sunset at the Franciscan Lodge, Lake Tahoe CA (a favorite spot of ours!)
A sunrise above the hills of Grants Pass, OR
  • A simple act of love.  Deborah and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday.  We had a wonderful evening at a fancy restaurant in Ashland:  ate the finest food we've ever had, were treated like royalty by white-shirted servers.  We enjoyed it all, but I also know that our love for each other has been expressed in ways smaller and simpler - but all the more divine, because they were uncomplicated and absolutely pure. 
A note Deborah left me - made with paper dots - while cleaning my office
  • The joy I feel in sharing my life with Deborah.  What a wonderful, magical mystery Life's "mathematics" are!  That "One" + "One" would = Something Far Greater than Two.  In the last six years, we have shared big adventures (Italy), painful moments with people close to us, busy times, and like today, quiet, sleepy afternoons.  All of them have been special to me.  Why?  Because they also remind me, just as a majestic oceanside view does, that I am not meant to live in a world just of, and for myself.
Deborah on a hike with me this summer.
"The most beautiful view is the one I share with you."

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

So what't the Pearl I walk away with this afternoon?  Nothing new - but something I easily forget, or drop, as I whiz through my days.  Stop and find moments of stillness - not "whenever I can" - but deliberately, intentionally - each day.  There is beauty all around me - just waiting for me to stop and let it touch me.

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