Beauty hidden in plain sight

Cold, sharp icicles unexpectedly radiate glory in the winter morning’s sun, transformed from mere frozen water – and sign of the season’s endless cycle of snow, melt, freeze – into a moment of brilliant beauty hidden in plain sight. “Those that have eyes to see…”

 

 

Earlier this morning, too, as we tramped our cold toes up the icy street, two unseen birds gave voice to the “call and response” pattern that will be in her music class test today. The shrill song and its companionable echo delighted us. As we listened, the two momentarily lost their rhythm and called once together, the chorus petering out in what seemed like a remarkably ‘human’ reaction of surprise or embarrassment! Laughing, we imagined both feathered creatures covering the offending beaks with a wing, before recovering their dignity and returning to their singing.

 

How many mornings we have likely missed this mundane matins, its beauty and its humour. What opened our ears to hear it today? What opened my eyes to see my neighbour’s icicles transcended?

Every day in my prayer of examen I ask for “light to see”. Sometimes the light comes with a flash of revelation and my ordinary day is ‘re-membered’, suddenly lit up with the glory and beauty that were always hidden there in plain sight, waiting for me to notice. But often there is no flash, no glorious transformation, and in my mind’s eye I see just the day’s monotonous tasks and me tramping through them with cold toes. But still I keep asking, keep praying, keep tramping. Though I wish the “lightning strike of inspiration or ecstasy that arcs by surprise into our souls from the fullness of God” (Brian McLaren) would find me more often, I trust that the simple act of pausing, asking, remembering, searching, noticing, is increasing my capacity to see and is slowly thawing my cold toes, cold heart.

Light isn’t always blinding or brilliant.

“Content thee, greedy heart” (George Herbert) with a gentle glow that lets you see the beauty in your daughter’s spreading smile, and the glory in your own simple act of making sure the toilet paper and soap never run out for the family.

The things that are always there can be so easily missed, passed over in my search for something more remarkable. But, truly, it IS remarkable to be alive this day. It is remarkable to be given another chance to love and be loved.

And I am grateful.

I’m grateful for the lightning strikes. They are gifts I will always long for and eagerly receive. But the gifts I am given each day, and every minute of each day, are the ones that really count and that, taking them for granted, I can be so blind to: “the priceless, quiet gift of well-being; the gentle habit of living deep and loving well.” (McLaren) So what I seek with my daily pause to remember, and in my living of each gift of a day, are the eyes to see the soft light that infuses every waking moment and every interaction. We are loved.

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