Tales April 2009
Gary and I just returned from a trip to France. Our excuse for traveling was to see our daughter, Caitlin, who is studying at Aix-en-Provence for the semester, but we made much more of the trip than a beeline for that city. We started at Chartres Cathedral, then made our way around the coastal areas of Britanny in the Northwest before driving south to meet up with Caitlin and explore some towns and the coast in that region.
As we toured cathedrals with their ornate and amazing architecture from several different eras, wended our way through towns with narrow cobblestone streets and ancient homes, and took pictures of chateaus nestled into valleys and on the tops of hills, I became aware that we could not possibly see everything we wanted to see in France. Our list of things that we intended to see was unreasonable, even though we had limited ourselves to just a few special areas.
Driving 11 hours straight to get back to Paris in time for our flight out, flying by many interesting-looking towns, I said to Gary that the trip had taught me that there were far more beautiful and amazing things to see in France than we would ever have time to see. It then became even more obvious to me that there were far more beautiful and amazing things to see in the whole world than we would ever be able to see in one lifetime, even if we spent that whole life traveling. In that thought was the seed of awe for the amazing world in which we live, with so much beauty we cannot possibly take it all in. Wow!
Knowing that I can’t see all I might hope to see, what seems essential is to really pay attention to what is right here in front of me, to appreciate this place right here and right now in a long series of “here and nows” throughout this life given to me. So, as I write this on the first day of Spring, I notice the sun’s extra warmth despite wintery temperatures. I notice the bird songs changing and the daffodils green stalks beginning to poke through the earth. Even here and now, there is so much to see, so much beauty and so many amazing things, that I cannot possibly really notice them all no matter how hard I try. Life is such a gift!