It was during just such a week of weather, when I was fulfilling a role as travel guide for holiday visitors along a winding road heading up the mountain, that one of my “not from here” passengers commented, “It’s just so beautiful here.” I chuckled.
“Now I know you’ll have to come back,” I replied. “If you think it’s pretty now...”
My mind was busy with a picturesque sales pitch for alternatives to the current bleak view through dirty windows...
If you think this is pretty, you should visit the Valley in springtime, when the mountains are soft and green with promise, when pink buds swell along the redbud stems, and lambs frisk in verdant meadows.
If you think this is pretty, spend some summer days winding along the back roads where farmers with horse drawn equipment are raking hay in long fragrant swaths, and barefoot children clamor along the creek. Every other farm has a “Produce” sign hanging on a fence post, and the tomatoes are fat and sun ripened. And you can eat sweet corn every single day.
If you think this pretty, autumn will take your breath away with its splendid maples splashing orange and yellow everywhere, fields dotted with corn shocks, and apple trees ladened with globes of gold.
All these scenes went spinning through my mind as we rounded the bend to a view of bare trees silhouetted against a bleak sky.
It is beautiful here.
And every day of every year, beauty is to be found-
if. I. am. looking. for. it.
(It's not like God goes to Florida for the winter...)
It’s time for-
(More) Lessons from the road less traveled.
1. Practice mindfulness.
2. Remember the long view.
3. Accept the wonder...
4. Be aware of who is watching.
But because – someone is usually watching, someone younger or more vulnerable or less settled, and they will choose what I choose; they will watch my actions and reactions and respond similarly because of my example.
My decision gives them permission. So, don’t forget the watchers.
5. Don’t be afraid to take some risks.
Don’t let your fears keep you from the feast.
Ask yourself, what would I do if I wasn’t afraid?
And then, do it.
6. Grow here.
Five years from now, you will be five years older, but will you be five years better? That doesn’t depend on your circumstances, that depends on your decisions.
These trees, growing out of solid rock, reminded me that I’m responsible for my own growth, even if conditions are less than optimal.
7. Rejoice in what is even if you are also grieving what is not.
Remember, the question is not what you look at but what you see. (Thanks, Thoreau.)
Tell me, what do you see? Keep watching for God to show up...