It’s just a simple wisp of an idea; one gentle thought. Author Cheryl Strayed brought it to my mind in a little book of her own quotes, Brave Enough. Put yourself in the way of beauty, she writes. That’s it. She gives a whole page surrounded by white space to those seven words.
It reminds me of another quote by Elsie de Wolfe that I have on a shelf by my kitchen sink in that place I always find myself standing. I’m going to make everything around me beautiful-that will be my life.
Those two quotes connect with the new job description I have assigned myself of being a noticer. I want to notice beauty and pain. I want to notice better what I’m feeling in my body and what my dreams are telling me. I want to notice people, especially the ones right in front of me. I want to see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears what God is whispering.
Three days in a row a tree in full white bloom has been right in my way on my morning walk. Three days in a row I took a picture of it because I did not know what else to do with that kind of beauty in my way. Three days in a row I noticed a little more springtime edging forth from the winter landscape. For three days, it has reminded me of God’s resurrection promise written on every leaf of springtime. (Martin Luther)
Put yourself in the way of beauty. I can do that.
Quietly, another thought saddled up along side that one. Toss some beauty into someone else’s way as well. I can do that too. And for today, that will be enough.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller, breast cancer survivor and noticer.
Today, all of nature got the memo that spring has officially begun. At least that’s how it is here in Texas. The day was awash with blue skies, a breeze, new grass the once a year lime to kelly green color, trees with baby tender leaves. I saw all these flowers with only buds. I have to wait and have faith a bit to see what kind of flowers will unfold.
In yoga, I’m learning to breathe more deeply and so I closed my eyes and breathed in spring. It smelled like fresh leaves and grass, cypress and floral. I wondered how many other springs I’ve raced through forgetting to notice; forgetting to breathe.
While I walked my Twitter feed exploded with news about political investigations and accusations and everyone’s opinion on all of it. I care but not now. Not while I’m on my walk. Not while spring is making a debut. Not when it smells like this and I now know how to breathe.
Today on my walk, I paused. There’s a bench right at this little lake and so I took the hint and sat. I never really noticed how accurately that lake reflects the sky. I never understood why older people were depicted as sitting on park benches all day or rocking endlessly on porches. I get it now. There is so much to notice.
My favorite poet, Mary Oliver, wrote, “It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world.” Yes, it is, especially in spring.
I know there is trouble in our world. There is hunger and hurting. There are diagnoses and dangers. People I know have lost those they love. But, on my walk today, I noticed it was spring. That is certainly something.
I’m talking about the weather, of course. What were you thinking of? Our mild winter here in Texas took a negative turn these last few weeks and now we just have day after day of grey. I know we have it good in Texas, weather-wise (not including summers.) I know there are places that experience months of grey every year. The difference is, we aren’t used to this. We are no more equipped for grey than we are for ice; at least I’m not.
My mood gets grey. My outlook gets grey. My attitude turns grey. Fifty shades of grey, or more. What do you do when that happens? Create your own color. One flower in a vase helps me. Wearing something bright helps. Lights on verses off. Prayer. Exercise no matter what. Today, I walked in the rain and it did help. Shouldn’t rain walking give you twice the calorie burn as pretty day walking? Lunch with a friend is good. Music. Planning that summer beach vacation works.
Spring will come. It always does. The sun will shine again and the grey will dissolve. When they do, I know I will be fifty shades of thankful for the sun and our blue Texas skies.