I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day, lost in my own thoughts and staring out the window, when a mom walked past looking like she still had plenty more energy left than I do after a good long workout. She was headed briskly to her car, but kept looking back behind her. After a minute or so, I realized why. About 50 feet back was a little girl, no older than three. And she was slowly – and I mean, slowly – following her mom.
Now I couldn’t tell exactly what her mom was saying to her daughter through the glass that separated me from them, but I knew she was trying in the best, most patient way she could, to get this adorable little girl to keep moving. But it wasn’t working so well. This girl was stopping to look at everything. The sky. The grass. The cars. Something on the sidewalk that I assumed was a bug. She would point. She would stare. And she would take her sweet time in observation.
I felt bad for that mom, because I’ve been there quite often. And unfortunately, those times only seem to become more frequent as my kids get older. When they were little, we had more time to stop and stare at the grass and plod our way through parking lots before arriving to our car. We could stop and pick some flowers and spend as much time as we wanted at pumpkin patches and visit the nearby park just to walk around and play.
But now, my kids are all school-aged. They have sports practices and ballet classes, violin lessons and tests to study for. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go and often feel like I’m juggling more balls some days than I can ever hope to keep in the air. They keep growing, as much as I would like to slow them down. Life. It just keeps happening all around me.
There is so much we miss when we hustle. There is so much beauty all around us that has been given to us to enjoy by the Master Artist. And we won’t see any of it, if we aren’t taking the time to look.
Rainbows after big thunderstorms, that we only see when we turn our heads.
Natural light that shines all around us, but we only see when we look up from our smart phones.
Rabbits that come out and play around sunset, that we only see when we look out the window.
Children who offer sweet words of encouragement, that we only hear when we take the time to tuck them into bed at night.
I keep thinking about that little girl, longing to be more like her. I want to find new ways to slow down – because I don’t want to miss any of the “right now” being too focused on the “not yet.” Matthew West just came out with a beautiful song called “The Beautiful Things We Miss,” and it’s resonating with me right now…
I don’t wanna miss it
I don’t wanna look back someday and find
Everything that really mattered
Was right in front of me this whole time
Open up my eyes, Lord
Keep me in the moment just like this
Before the beautiful things we love
Become the beautiful things we miss
So don’t miss it today, my friend. There is beauty waiting all around us.
We just each may have to become more like a little child to see it.