I was standing at the kitchen sink today, tidying up as one is want to do, when I saw a tiny little soap bubble floating over the sink. It was small and perfect and clear and made me think of Glinda the Good Witch floating around in “The Wizard of Oz”. So, I stopped and watched it as it floated up and down, then out of the kitchen entirely (this was a very active soap bubble) before coming back in and then vanishing. Ok. So maybe I had too much time on my hands, but that was kind of the point. Sort of. Maybe. I realized looking at it made me smile, so I decided to keep watching until I couldn’t see it anymore. And I smiled the whole time. Totally worth it.
A few years ago, in another city, when I owned a home, I sat on my driveway one day after mowing the lawn and watched a bunch of balloons float up into the sky. I thought about where it had come from and where it was going and just watched. It gave me a nice sense of peace that I often find so lacking in my daily life these days. Oh, I’m mostly happy these days, but I can’t always say I’m peaceful. I don’t know how to simply pause and exist and soak up the moment I’m in, but I’m working on it.
I took a long walk along the riverfront last Thursday since the weather was so lovely. I enjoy walking when it’s crisp and cool, but it’s a struggle to get outside when the temps are higher. We lucked into sunny skies and highs in the 60s so close to Christmas and I’m definitely not going to complain.
When I walk with friends I will go further, but when I walk alone it’s a chance to get inside my head. To sort through whatever is going on in my life that’s not making sense or time to pray. Lately I’ve been praying for understanding about some things going on in my life, but no answers have been forthcoming. Since I am a champion at overthinking everything, I’ve struggled with not trying too hard to make sense of things life has thrown my way of late, but I thought a little time in nature would be a nice way to spend part of the day. And once again, the beautiful weather certainly didn’t hurt for motivation.
With clear, blue skies and bright sunshine, I had a lot of time to look around and enjoy the scenery. One of my favorite colors is the orange in an autumn leaf and they were plentiful. I passed the first one and thought I should stop to take a picture, but continued on as I knew I had 2 miles to go one way before I could turn around and head back. Didn’t seem to make sense to stop so early in the walk when I could surely stop on my way back.
I passed a few other things that made me want to stop and take a picture, but my mind kept telling me to keep on walking. Get to the end and turn around, then I could take pictures on the way back if I still wanted to. The trouble with that, I realized, is that when I’m walking back the opposite direction, I’m not going to see the same things in the same way that I did before. And what about the leaf? What if it was gone when I came back? What if I couldn’t find the things I’d seen on my way?
Mulling over it all in my old noodle, I tried to divert myself once again into prayer, asking God to please provide some clarity and understanding about some things going on in my life. Then I heard a clear voice in my head saying, “Just be in the moment.” Perhaps I was so busy looking for answers that I was failing to really see what was around me. Oh sure, it’s all kind of hokey and not the first time something like this has been said, but it made me pause and realize I was pushing once again. I push when I don’t get the answers or responses I think I should. I don’t let things happen – I try to force them to happen. Because that always works out so very well, right?
After that, I stopped to take some pictures. Of silly things, I suppose.
|Spanish moss hanging so lovely from the trees.|
The way the two bridges come together over part of the river.
|Turtles sunning themselves on logs.|
|Debris from last year’s floods and this year’s hurricane.|
Whatever I saw that made me happy, I stopped and took a picture. I even stood still a few times and turned my face to the sky to enjoy the sun and the breeze that was blowing. I think the turtles really had the right idea. We should probably all be more like those turtles sometimes.
It may have taken me a little longer to walk those 4 miles, but it suddenly made more sense to stop. Because I was right…I couldn’t find the leaf again that I liked so much. I had to look much harder for the things I’d seen on my way because my perspective was different. I found most everything again, but it wasn’t the same as the initial moment of discovery.
I’m still trying to sort out some things in my life (and aren’t we all really doing that, all the time?), but will keep that subtle nudge and reminder with me (I hope) as much as I can to stop and be in the moment. Enjoy what is happening ,while it is happening, and stop putting so much thought into the past or the future. Easier said than done, but a worthwhile pursuit nonetheless.