Thursday, February 14, 2013

Taking Things For Granted

As I was walking back from the Visitors' Centre to the Lodge this afternoon, I realized there were birds singing all around me on the temple grounds...  in February! What a beautiful sound! I looked up to see if I could spot any of them in the trees and realized that the sun was shining brightly and there were big, fluffy clouds in the sky -- the brilliant white kind. What a sight! I almost missed it while I was walking along all wrapped up in my thoughts about some responsibility or project I was working on. What else have I been missing?

Don and I take that walk many times a day as we go back and forth between the Visitors' Centre and our office in our flat. A year ago, when we arrived on the temple grounds, I took myriads of photos of the beauty here. Photos of the temple at all times of the day and night, photos of the airplanes coming in for a landing over us (which we don't even hear anymore), photos of the lawns, photos of the architecture, photos of the flowers, photos of the ducks. I would have taken photos of the fox, the deer and the rabbits if they'd held still long enough.

Today I realized that it's been a several months since I've taken a single picture on the temple grounds - so I walked through the gardens and took some. It made me stop and focus on what was around me. Is that what it takes to appreciate our surroundings? It's just a regular, ordinary day today, and the trees are still bare, but I do appreciate the lush, green lawns and the birds singing here in February. It's such a spirit lifter. It gives me hope that Spring will come. Though we may get more snow, and we absolutely will get more rain, today I'm enjoying the beauty of the moment. It's amazing how comfortable and complacent we can get.

February 14, 2013

I love the thoughts of the main character, Emily, in the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder, when she's allowed after she dies to pick one day out of her life and re-live it. She chooses her 12th birthday and goes back to watch herself with her mother in the kitchen of her home. It makes her sad to watch and realize just how much life should be valued "every, every minute."  When she asks the man who has accompanied her whether anyone ever realizes how precious life is while they are living it, he responds, "No. The saints and poets, maybe -- they do some."

This mission has given me many great opportunities to appreciate the things I've often taken for granted. That's a good thing! Maybe that happens more as we get older, or as our circumstances change, or as we humble ourselves and realize where all the good things in our life come from. Whatever the reason, it doesn't hurt to stop once in awhile and take a look around and see your surroundings with a new perspective -- then give thanks to the One who has provided it all for you.

I guess it's appropriate, on Valentines Day, when we focus on the people that we love, to ask ourselves, "What have I been taking for granted?"                                       ~Pat~

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