Everything was still, as if the earth had consciously subdued the commotion of everyday life to a slow, tranquil whisper. Like it somehow knew, at that very moment, exactly what I needed. And there I stood in the kitchen — the coffee gurgling on the counter next to me while sleep still coursed through my bones — watching the snow gracefully flutter to the ground outside of our window. And I could do nothing but stare at its humble beauty, fully transfixed on the simple nature of its elegance — so pure and unassuming.
And though I wanted nothing more than to stay cocooned in that moment for as long as it lingered, I felt the urgency of the day begin to unravel its serenity. After all, I had places to be, things to do! And, finally, much to my chagrin, I did what I always do. I grabbed a to-go mug and rushed out the door to meet deadlines, pay bills, and stare at an assortment of screens — phone screens! Computer screens! Television screens! Oh, my!
And the precarious thing about these screens is that they will both show you life and simultaneously drain you of it. The unadulterated beauty of the world seen through perfectly arranged pixels on your 5” retina display. Your social interactions satisfied through neatly organized apps. The instantaneous notifications that will ensure to keep you bound to this electronic device for fear of missing something vital. You see, these screens, they can fill your head with life, but they cannot fill your heart. Because nothing can mimic the exhilarating wonderment you feel when your toes touch the edge of a vast canyon. Nothing can replace the warmth of a rich conversation over coffee. Nothing can be more liberating than turning off, shutting down, and simply witnessing life through your very own eyes.
And that unscripted moment in my kitchen, full of welcome and charm, has got me wondering about all of the beautiful moments we miss because of our inability to find them. The enchanting sunsets that silently fall while we’re tucked away in our homes watching television. The modest allure of Spring blossoming just beyond the rim of our phones. The richness of the sun replaced by the harsh, manufactured light of computer screens.
There is so much life out there to live, and I want to live it… fully. I want to embrace the raw beauty that organically occurs around us each day, to run in open fields and feel the intoxicating joy it produces. And I want to give — selflessly and unapologetically — to empty myself for the betterment of others and to pray with unceasing fervor.
This is life. This is beauty. This is freedom.
Happy Sunday, dear friends. Make it count.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.” – Paul Hawken