For as long as I can remember, I have found nothing soothes the heart and relaxes the mind like slipping away into a quiet place, surrounded by nature. There I can listen, and let the cares that burden the heart slip away with the wind. It is my hiding place, where I feel close to God.
I don’t know what childish woes were pressing on my heart that day, but I do know that it was likely early March, spring breakup was just beginning and an icy wind was still blowing strong. The sky was grey and the snow was still deep, but I went out anyway.
That day, kneeling in the cold, I discovered a tiny violet. Blossoming under the snow, ice above, and ice beneath in the earth it sprung from, warmed just enough by the early sunshine and sheltered by the very snow that had brought an end to my flowers the fall before. It had somehow put out one blossom far before its time and I cried. It was beauty in an unexpected place. It felt like God had planted that there just for me and it was the balm that my heart needed that day.
It may not have been the exact beginning, but it was a moment that sort of began to define a passion that had been growing in my heart from my first memories—the passion for finding treasures in an ordinary day.
You’ll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth.
It may sound silly—like a child’s game—this looking for hidden treasures in the form of a bird’s song or the dancing of painted leaves in the Autumn breeze, but to me it is more than a game or a way to pass the time. It is a lifelong searching-out of beauty and goodness, and the reflections of love, His love, in the simple moments of life that we so easily miss in our rush to live. It is taking time to notice the little things that helps us to understand and appreciate the bigger things. It is learning to be content with what we have, and finding in it the richness that it truly is. It is realizing that everywhere we go, there is something to be discovered, something to learn, a way to grow.
“As we become curators of our own contentment on the Simple Abundance path… we learn to savor the small with a grateful heart.”
I think of it as a personal reality check sometimes. I am rushing to work or late for an appointment because of things I couldn’t help. I’m having a bad hair day and I forgot my lunch on the counter and now I’m too far away to turn back. My eyes are focused on the road, my mind focused on getting there right now, and I’m forced to stop at the rail road crossing for a very long train. It is this moment that I have to choose to savor. And so I look up.
Then I see the mist rising from peaceful fields, and the morning sun turning an ordinary pond into a sheet of gold, and wonder that the cricket’s song is still so strong above the clatter of wheels on rails. Life is beautiful. And I almost missed out because I didn’t look.
It doesn’t mean that life is a blissful fairy tale, it’s just that we miss so much by not taking time for the beautiful, the sunshine that God has blessed us with, even when there is pain and loss.
“One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”
I believe that God put each of us here for a purpose. I believe that there is a miracle wrapped into each day, if we look for it. For me, I feel close to God when I make the most out of the beauty that I am surrounded with, when I count my blessings and when I find all the reasons I can to keep smiling, no matter what sort of day I may be having. And the more I discover, the more I realize that this is one of the great keys to true happiness. These are the things that are the beginnings of great things. This is a part of the purpose of living, and I want to share it with others.
And so I pick up my camera, and I write.