Sometimes we miss the good stuff because we are looking for something different. Longing to live somewhere else, waiting for our kids to be a different age, for us to be a different age, for our finances to change, for our spouse to change. We wait for change because we hope for things to be better, but there is always a chance that they won't be - that we'll get what we thought we wanted, and find out it wasn't.
Better to find beauty in the Now you're living. Better to see the good hand of God on your every-blessed-day life.
I think I've become more observant in the last several years.
It used to be that I lived so much in my head that I was a little oblivious to my surroundings. My husband would lament the fact that I could read a book or make dinner or have a conversation with screaming (well, not quite screaming screaming, but it seemed like screaming to him) children about me. It bothered him that I could just "tune out".
It was mostly a difference in personality and a shock to his system - to come from his work world to my child-filled world each day. It wasn't that our kids were ever really screamers, or loud, or particularly obnoxious. Just a difference between the way he perceived things and the way I did.
Still, I did my best to be especially "tuned in" when he came home. My sense of observation grew because I made the effort to see things the way he saw them.
Observation is one of the most important parts of science, and a scientist has to set aside what he expects to see in order to focus on what observable data there really is; not what he wants to see, but what he actually sees. And sometimes all the theories have to change because what is really observable doesn't fit what he expected to see.
I really want to see peace and flowers and sunshine in my day. I want clean rooms and obedient children and a perfectly managed life, where everything gets done according to my schedule and everyone is happy about it.
Usually, 24 hours just don't do the magic I thought they would. The same hours, each day, and it's the people that you can't squeeze into boxes on your daily planner because they are 3-dimensional and living and ever-changing.
I observe that it's these same people who show me the most beauty. It's the people and not the productivity that make a day beautiful.
I conclude, then, that true beauty doesn't show up on my schedule.
The effort is to find what we want to see in the middle of what really is, without "tuning out" reality.
We want to make a different schedule so we can hurry up the tasks and get to the good stuff, but we tend to let the tasks run us right into our beds at night.
We see too many disappointments and rearranged plans, instead of seeing the beauty of a life directed by God.
We see work as drudgery instead of a way to serve someone else.
We see stress and the pressure of trying to please others, instead of the blessing of doing the best we can and trusting God for the outcomes.
We obsess when we should observe.
My tendency is to see things as useful, rather than beautiful.
I have this quilt my grandmother made me years ago. It's not too puffy or full, not too short, not so fragile that it can't be thrown in the washer. It's my go-to blanket when I'm writing or reading or mindlessly watching Andy Griffith with the kids.
It's also a beautiful work of art.
My daughter was wrapped in it one morning last week when she should have been doing her school, her chores, or any other productive thing.
She was completely covered in the blanket, curled up in a ball on the couch and evading my voice, and that's when I noticed the bird. One pink, flowery, hand-stitched hexagon with one little, blue bird.
I love almost anything with a bird on it.
Obviously, I whipped out my phone and took pictures of the blanket. Sometimes, often, you gotta just stop and observe the beautiful in your life.
Obsess less. Observe more.
P.S. This is why I love Instagram. Follow me there and let's see the beautiful. Or funny. Or inspiring.