There I was at 7 AM in the morning, rolling along on the train to work, completely engrossed in (of all things) an Excel spreadsheet. Oh what joy! Is there anything more fun than editing tiny little worksheet cells while your laptop bounces up and down rhythmically on your lap? Needless to say, I was annoyed and felt tired even before the day had begun.
But then a tiny, quiet voice inside my head told me to look up. You know, THAT voice. The one we are usually too busy or too tired or too wrapped up in something else to notice. The voice that is as wise as it is quiet, that contains more wisdom in a single sentence than most of us can muster in an entire lifetime. After all, God doesn't yell. He whispers. And you have to listen hard if you want to hear him.
So, I reluctantly pulled myself away from the laptop not knowing exactly what I was looking for, and lifted my gaze to the wintry scene outside. My breath caught in my chest as my eyes struggled to take in the beauty of the scene before me. It had snowed the day previous and thanks to a thin layer of ice the snow still clung to each tree. The whiteness of the snow mixed with the blueness of the morning sky in a way that when illuminated by the golden rays of the sun created a tableau of astonishing beauty.
It spoke to me of being a child again, of winter afternoons spent flying down a hill on my trusty metal sled, of feeling like you could literally launch into the sky and never come down, powered by nothing more than the conviction that little boys were meant to fly.
It was an astonishingly beautiful scene, especially in contrast to the painfully ordinary interior of the train with its mute colors and grimy floors. And the saddest part of all was that everyone in that train car was too tired or too busy or too preoccupied to even notice.
Suddenly I wanted to stand up and implore everyone to look out the window, to beg them to put down their books and their newspapers and their laptops and to really appreciate the world around them instead of always being so focused within.
Here it was, right there for those who cared to look, a scene of such overwhelming and utter beauty that the troubles of mere mortals would simply pale in comparison.
And so, I started to think about all of the things I had missed because I was too engrossed in my silly little world to notice the spectacle of life all around me. All the times I had rushed right through my time with Clare and the kids, too worried about some looming deadline or presentation to be fully there.
Are we not at one point or another weary commuters on a train, so beaten up by the concerns and cares of the world that we are unable to see the beauty that surrounds us?
And how many times are we so focused on getting THERE that we don't enjoy BEING HERE?
How many times are we so wrapped up in our own concerns and cares that we miss some glorious scene right outside our window, right there in front of our very noses?
And how often do we fail to listen to that voice, the one that tells us to look up, to open our eyes, to really see the beauty all around us instead of being trapped in our own little world?
Sometimes the secret to life is as simple as looking up. Looking up and seeing the beauty that is right in front of us if we would only take the time to notice.