Just Another Flower
My wife received a lovely bouquet of flowers from a co-worker today, and they were sitting on our living room coffee table when the kids arrived home from school. I sat down on the chair nearby and set to work returning a few emails when my daughter caught sight of the flowers and came racing excitedly across the room.
“Wow,” she exclaimed, after inspecting them for a few seconds. “Isn’t it amazing how God made these?”“What do you mean,” I rather unimaginatively and inattentively replied. “There’s just such incredible detail,” was her nine-year-old reply. And so, my attention thus delightfully redirected, we began to inspect the flowers, examining their colours and textures and scents. After thirty seconds or so, she had me convinced. They were amazing, these things that God has made. But you have to be looking. You have to be open to beauty and wonder, even (or especially?) when it’s practically staring you in the face.
Our conversation reminded me of a passage from Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that I read this morning:
We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren’t capable of remembering how we got here. When you are born, you wake slowly to everything. Your brain doesn’t stop growing until you turn twenty-six, so from birth to twenty-six, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you’re groggy and pointing at things saying “circle” and “blue” and “car” and then “sex” and “job” and “health care.” The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe that life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. What I’m saying is I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given—it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.
Or just another flower. Thank God for children, alive to wonder, with eyes to see.
I keep a drawer full of small bright coloured journals in my office. Occasionally, when I think a client could benefit by it, I give away a journal and assign the client the following homework. “Every day, write down the date, and ONE GOOD THING that you have noticed or experienced.” I stress that these GOOD THINGS do not have to be big or life changing, just good. When I did this last Friday, I even offered that my client could write down ‘my counsellor gave me a yellow journal with white polka dots’ as her first good thing. To write it down, you have to notice. When you’re open to noticing, GOOD THINGS miraculously appear.
What a great idea… We can all use creative ways to encourage noticing goodness around us, I think!