I do it all the time. I hurry along, busy with daily trivia, looking at things as I go but not really seeing them. I’m physically there, but not focused on my surroundings. You know how it is when you glance at something and later can’t remember what it looked like?
Fifteen years ago our family holidayed on the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). While there we celebrated my birthday, and my eight-year-old granddaughter gave me a jar of pebbles collected on a beach below Tow Hill near the northern tip of Graham Island. The jar had also been filled with water because only when they were wet did the rocks display their hidden beauty. For me it was a priceless gift.
That jar of rocks still sits on my china cabinet shelf, and it still has a trace of the original water in it. The rocks glisten with the residue of condensation. I treasure this simple gift because of the giver’s loving heart, but also because those rocks are a constant reminder of the beauty all around me that too often goes unnoticed.
I’m not much of a photographer but am forever snapping photos, often without looking beyond the lens to see the miracle of detail. How often have I captured the picture of a gurgling stream or lakeside vista without stooping to discover the treasures at my feet? How often have I bypassed ordinary rocks without washing off the dust to reveal their true beauty?
While we’re rushing through life we miss living.
Slow Me Down Lord
(Wilferd Arlan Peterson)
Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the singing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations,
Of slowing down
To look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend or make a new one;
To pat a stray dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.