I am trying to remind myself to be more mindful in everything I do. I know that many ordinary things hold beauty that I can see if I train myself to pay attention to them. Think of how many times we walk past flowers every day without taking the time to see them, let alone smell them. Taking time to smell the roses should not just be a saying: It should be a basic rule of life. How many beautiful sunsets have we missed because we were watching television or were distracted, thinking about something else while driving our car? How many precious little children have we ignored in our rush to get to the next thing on our agenda? Think of all the times we have been with the people we love the most but have taken them for granted, not paying attention to them and expressing our love in the moment. Seeing the beauty in ordinary things is a learned discipline, as is taking the time to appreciate the beauty of nature or the beauty of a person. If you are willing to take the time and pay attention, you can see beauty in every person you meet, even the grumpy ones.
I am trying to be more present in everything I do, both when I am at work and when I am at play. I have started being more present when I eat meals as well. Indeed, being mindful of what I am eating and how I am eating it, brings many benefits. Slowing down to taste food is a way to enjoy it more in the present as well as a way to eat more healthfully. If I am fully present when eating, I will know when my hunger is satisfied, not falling into mindless overeating just because something tastes good. Being fully present is also a basic safety precaution. Have you ever cut yourself with a knife because you weren’t paying attention to what you were doing? Similarly, many car accidents happen simply because a driver was not fully present while driving. When driving on a long trip, how frightening it is to try to remember things you saw the previous ten minutes of driving, only to realize that there is nothing there to remember—your brain was on autopilot. I love the challenge from missionary martyr Jim Elliot, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
REFLECTIONS: What things do you consider truly beautiful? How can you put more of these beautiful things into your daily life? When you see something ordinary or even ugly, try to find something beautiful in it. Ask God to help you develop an eye for the wonders of creation—everything from tiny snowflakes to enormous mountain ranges. And don’t forget to literally “stop and smell the roses (and other flowers)” when you see them!
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these