January 18, 2012

Sunshine on Snow Sparkles like Diamonds

I believe all the riches we will ever need go mostly unnoticed. I wrote a poem decades ago where I lamented that most people probably don’t even pause to see a beautiful sunset. I wonder how many people took a moment out of their busy morning to notice the diamonds strewn across the fresh snow blown smooth by yesterday's winds.

As I gaze outside my window, the long shadows from a low-lying winter sun cast patterns in blue across the smooth surface of the snow. Where the sun touches white, tiny sparkles appear as the light is reflected off of even tinier surfaces on thousands of fallen snowflakes. Am I the only one who finds delight in this?

The other evening another sun pillar formed as the sun set. I’ve seen them even more rarely in the sunrise. A perfectly formed column of light shooting straight up from the orb as its light reflects off ice crystals. I watched in awe and delight.

Ice formed an enormous ring around the full moon the other night. It was Cosmo’s moon (from Moonstruck), glowing huge and bright and drawing me outdoors into the cold night. I was awestruck by the gigantic ring of light reflecting off ice crystals some distance from the moon. It seemed to fill the entire night sky. If I hadn’t ventured out, I would have missed seeing the spectacle.

One morning several summers ago, as I walked up the hill to our house, I stopped in my tracks. Sunlight was caught on the dewdrop at the tip of each blade of grass. I’ve never seen that before or since. The light was just right, and I happened to be at just the perfect angle to see the sparkling grass dewdrops, jewels strewn across my lawn.

How many of these precious moments of beauty slip past us as we hurry through our busy lives? How can we slow down to appreciate the moments of our lives before they become the past?

 We live in a forward-thinking society. New developments and inventions bring technological and functional advancements in living; ever faster, always more. While all of this is good, it seems we are always looking to the future rather than appreciating the time we have now.

Busy calendars keep us looking to the next task at hand. Appointments to be made and kept, birthdays and outings to look forward to; each day has a multitude of minutiae vying for our attention.  But can we pause long enough to pray, to seek connection with the Lord of our universe?

I believe we were meant for more than the hurried lives we lead. And the only way to slow things down is to purposefully do so. Pause. Look at the clouds today. What color is the sky? I fear people living and working in large cities never look up and see the expanse of glorious blue and the great variety of clouds that pass by.

Maybe I have more time to observe the natural world, but it is because I make it a priority in my life. That connection, for me, is what sustains me. And it is not just for its beauty alone, bur for the connection to my Creator. The One who made me also made the world I live and breathe in. The flowers and the trees and blue skies and mountains and rolling fields of wheat are gifts for us to enjoy. The vastness of the night sky and the oceans’ depths are made for us to ponder our smallness in the grand scheme of things.

Our self-importance leads us to believe that we must complete each and every task to feel worthy and accepted, when what we really need to do is stop and realize that this day will never come again; this moment in life is so brief, and should be savored. Bask in the sunshine, feel the breeze across your face. Watch the antics of a squirrel as he goes about his busy day of living.

We are all connected, all of life. Pause to feel that connection. Breathe. This is sustenance as much as food, water and sleep. Life won’t wait. Take the time today to believe in the importance of just being still for a moment. Be thankful for all you have been given. And give yourself the gift of peace.

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