I have been feeling very thoughtful lately, more than usual even. (Maybe because it’s May?) Every song, every bible verse, every chapter in my meditation book, every page in the Tao Te Ching, even most every commercial – they all seem to be speaking directly to me. Some random couple on some renovation show on HGTV looked right into my eyes yesterday and I received their message. I’m not sure how they knew what I needed to hear, but then again…everyone seems to. And I do, jokingly, ask God for neon signs to know that I’m taking the right path in life. Perhaps these messages everywhere are flashing for my benefit. God’s probably like, “Neon signs? You don’t go out to the bars…I’ll show you your message everywhere you look instead. I bet you won’t miss that!”
Well, I’m not missing it. I’m hearing it, seeing it, reading it, and trying to live it.
That said, some of my past posts have been on my mind. Flowers of Edo has come up in conversation a few times this week. And I shared some of my thoughts on Beauty in a post that’s come to mind lately too. Or this one: Lovely to Look Upon. Some of the messages I’ve been clearly hearing lately are personal…and I’ll keep them that way. But the others are about the same ideas as these post. There is beauty all around us. There is something that engages us, intrigues us, brings us joy…something in everything. Even in the wake of pain. If we just look.
“In studying, each day something is gained.” ~ Tao Te Ching
As we learn, we grow. Reading about history can enlighten our futures. Learning about what makes us tick can create understanding of our behaviors. Struggling with a topic that frustrates us can lead to more appreciation of other viewpoints. Just stopping and looking around can help us see small joys and reasons to smile.
There’s a song on country radio right now, Keith Urban’s Wasted Time, that speaks to a recurrent message I’m trying to hear right now. At least kind of. The song asks, “Ain’t it funny how the best days of my life was all that wasted time.” My newly crowned teenager pointed out recently, “See, it’s saying that adults are wrong – wasting time as a kid is good!” And I countered with, “I’ve never said it wasn’t. Wasting time as an adult is good too. It just can’t be all we do. Even at 37, though, there’s nothing that’s better than time around a campfire – which is certainly not being productive in any way. It’s just being.”
I’m not a fan of the idea that the best days of our lives are behind us. I think that’s a fairly sad outlook on life. But I do think there’s something to be learned in, and loved about, the spaces in life. Call it wasted time, if you will. Or call it quiet time or moments of reflection or time to look up and look around. Whatever you call it, it’s in those times that we see simple beauty.
Laughter. Sunshine. Hugs.
The way the rain glistens on the grass. The way a burning piece of wood crackles. There is quiet in which to really hear the messages that abound around us. There is calm, even if short-lived, to simply…be. There are chances to learn, to grow.
I love the moments. I love the simple beauty.
As we head into a long weekend, there are sure to be opportunities to sit in the moments and take a look at what’s around you, in you. Notice the signs that are speaking to you. Realize the joys that you take for granted in the noisiness of daily life. (There’s another country song out right now about that – Noise, by Kenny Chesney. A different perspective, but with a similar message, I think.) I hope you’re able to breathe in deeply, smile while you exhale, and love completely.
Love completely. Waste a little time and be. And find the simple beauty that already surrounds you.