Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illuminates the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.”
~prayer excerpted from My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen
“…we walk sightless among miracles.”
How true this is for so many of us so much of the time. We rush here and there, commuting to our jobs, doing the grocery shopping and the laundry, mowing the lawn, carpooling the kids. We rarely stop to look at the brilliant sunset above the parking lot or the rufus-sided towhee nesting in the shrubs next to the house. How many of us stop to think about the miracle of turning on the tap and filling our glass with water?
Of course we can’t stop every minute and stand in awe of everything we encounter. We would get nothing done. However, I think the compromise is to approach our days with a sense of reverence and awareness. Look up at the sky as you walk to the train to go to work. Instead of waiting impatiently for your child’s soccer practice to be over, see the children on the field as the miracles of blood and bone and mind and heart that they are. Take a moment to wonder who they will be one day. Memorize your elderly mother’s face as she sits across the table from you drinking her coffee. Think of all the moments and the years you’ve had together and know that this is the only one that matters.
Opposite the elevator on the third floor of the Richmond Ballet building where I worked for several years is a large window that looks out over a parking lot across the street. While waiting for the elevator, I would stand and look out the window, sometimes at the sun reflecting off the glass walls and windows of the office buildings beyond the parking lot, but most often I would watch the people below—walking to their cars or along the sidewalk to some unknown destination. I found myself wondering where they were going, what they were thinking, whom they might be meeting. I wondered what their stories were, because of course everyone has a story.
Those brief glimpses of anonymous people going to and fro became almost holy moments for me. In those moments, I was reminded how we are all connected, how we are all the same inside, with hopes and dreams and sorrows and losses that sometimes only we know but are so like those of the people we encounter every day, even though we and our lives may look very different from the outside.
Moments like these, when we are suddenly aware of the small miracles that surround us, can shift our thinking and feeling, taking us to a fuller, richer daily life, no longer routine, no longer a mere plodding of one foot after the other. They can remind us of the why of it all, of what makes life, with all its sometimes seemingly petty necessities, a series of miracles that will enrich our souls, if we will only stop long enough to open our eyes and our hearts to let them in.