Flying from Venice to Amsterdam in Europe, my traveling companions and I had the privilege of passing over the Austrian Alps. It was stunning. Snow-capped peaks as far as the eye could see. It never seemed to end as if it was wrapped all the way around the world. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the view outside the plane window. It was truly the most beautiful and amazing natural sight I had ever witnessed.
More astonishing than the incredible vista outside the plane was what was going on inside the plane. Shades were closed. Nobody was looking at the majesty just beyond the glass. Engrossed in books, magazines, or computers, some were unaware of the beauty they were missing. Others had grown so accustomed to the view, they had lost their awe of its magnificence.
As I sat there astounded something so marvelous could be so easily disregarded, I slowly realized I was guilty of the same thing. I may not live near majestic mountains but there are many striking sights within my own neighborhood and my own walls that I take for granted every day. I’m guilty of shutting the shades on:
- My own surroundings – On a warm day in September, my son, Colby, and I went for a bike ride that was quite eye-opening. Colby admired beautiful landscaping in yards. He pointed out two playing squirrels. We stopped to ogle a tractor. We took time to play on the swings. We went up countless hills (is it possible to go uphill both ways?) and raced down streets. And that’s when I realized, somewhere along the way, I had shut the shades on the world around me and no longer viewed it with wonder like an 11-year-old.
- My children – Their faces, toes, and fingers were something that stole my breath in the delivery room. Where had I lost that admiration for the miracle of their creation? I had shut the shade on adoring my children.
- My husband – On the day of our wedding, he enraptured my attention. Everything and everyone disappeared into the background as I became lost in the moment. As I regarded my soon-to-be husband, I was overwhelmed with love and how much I treasured this man. Although, I love my husband even more than that first day of our marriage, I no longer look at him with rapture. The business of life and managing many responsibilities had allowed me to shut the shade on cherishing my husband.
- God – God and I spend time together every day but many times I do not marvel at His presence. The ability to talk with Him anytime, anywhere has become routine. The idea that I’m walking into His throne room no longer impresses me. I had shut the shade on revering God.
Have you shut the shades anywhere in your life? What no longer impresses you? What once took your breath away that has now become routine?
- Be intentional – Choose one day a month when you will determine to adore what you’ve closed the shades on in life. Today is my birthday, so I’ve decided that today and each month on the 14th, I will slow down and intentionally look out my windows of life with amazement.
- Be amazed – Ponder the special qualities of the place or person you want to notice. I’m determined to think about my husband’s amazing qualities and all the reasons why I love him. I will hug my children and admire their beautiful faces. I will be mindful of the landscape, people, wildlife, and everything else surrounding me and marvel at its beauty. And I will walk into God’s presence with a renewed mind.
- Share – Tell the people in your life why you love them and what makes them special. Share your thoughts of your beautiful surroundings with whoever you are with at the time. I will be purposeful in telling my husband and kids why they amaze me. I plan to share in my kid’s wonder of the world around us and point out the extraordinary. I’ll praise God for who He is and not just for what He’s done for me.
When we are intentional, we begin to see all the beauty and blessings we take for granted. I urge you, open the shades and gaze at life with a renewed sense of wonder. Share it with those around you. And let’s resolve to never close the shades on our lives again.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
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©2012 Connie Davis Johnson