Many years ago I read in a book, that I can’t remember the name of, a story that I still remember. It was not a story, actually, just a comment. The author, whose name I also have forgotten, wrote about some recent solar eclipse. They are rare, the solar eclipses, and I have never seen one. But the one this man spoke of was a big deal. And what he had observed, with the help of others, was that as the eclipse occurred, more people were sitting inside their living rooms watching it on TV, than they ones who walked outside and saw it in real life.
I am not sure why this little incident stuck with me for so long, but it did. Because it kind of illustrates how so many of us live our lives. While life is happening in our backyard, we spend our hours sitting on the couch, watching life unfold on TV. (Or on the computer.)
“We are always getting to live,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, “but never living.”
Mindfulness seems to be the new buzzword. And I don’t think that is a bad thing. If only we could learn it, and not just talk about it. If only we could learn to be present in our own lives, rather than either living other people’s lives through the media that is always surrounding us, with reality shows in every category (did you know there is a show called the Bear Whisperer?). If only we could learn to be present in our lives, rather than always living as if what really counts is what is going to happen in the future.
As I am rushing through my days, trying to keep up with all the items on my calendar, I try to take conscious breaks where I stop, take a deep breath and ask myself if I am really living. It is easy to forget in a busy day, but I do remember—sometimes.
Last spring I was too busy to stop and pick the wild Lilies of the Valley that are in our neighborhood. They are some of my favorite flowers. Every time I passed them, I would think: I ought to pick some. I ought to stop and smell them. I ought to stop and admire their tender white bells, a sign of perfection. But I never did. This year, I stopped and picked a bouquet twice. I was proud of myself, and the time I took to appreciate the beauty in Creation, and the small joys in our lives. The joys that make life worth living. If you think of it.
How many times don’t we miss out on valuable relationships, experiences, memories, and lessons that God is wanting to teach us just because we are too busy living somebody else’s lives, or too busy trying to get to our next appointment. Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us Pick Flowers on Dusty Roads!