We bought a bowl once. It’s a shiny gold with vibrant splashes of red, green, blue and orange and we thought it would make a striking centerpiece for our table. We did not, at the time, consider what, if anything, we would put in it. Nor did we consider how much an empty bowl might beckon us to fill it. I’m ashamed to say this beautiful bowl has become a bowl for bills; piles of important papers now cascade from it completely blotting out the original reason for which it was purchased. Now instead of looking at the beautiful bowl and experiencing joy, I look at a bowl of bills and feel frustrated, worried, and depressed.
How often do we do this in life? Every day affords new opportunities to discover the beauty of this wondrous world and we put our heads down and hone in on the dirty and mundane, intent on working that extra hour, finishing that task, or crossing off that next item on our to-do list. We are surrounded by sunsets and cute kids, ice cream and symphonies, butterflies and flowers and we still have our faces glued to our iPhones. Then we wonder why we’re tired, why we need therapy, why our lives are devoid of meaning. This world is rich with beauty and we’re made to enjoy it. Beauty, in all its diverse forms, refreshes and revives, delights and excites us. Beauty brings us joy, but only when we pause to acknowledge and appreciate it. Otherwise, it just gets lost in the blur.
We moved 5 years ago and bought a fixer upper. We went shopping for granite and even if you’re not in the market, I highly recommend this activity. We were given addresses of a couple of warehouses in Calgary, secret places with great slabs of earth on display. I kid you not, my mouth was gaping. Some slabs spoke boldly with splinters of jagged color. Others sparkled like white sand on a beach. Still others made me think of animals like leopards, tigers, and appaloosas. One they aptly titled “Circus”, I was sure, gave off the the sweet scent of cotton candy. Many times in the course of that afternoon, I was dumbfounded and all I could do was stand and stare. Some slabs were so beautiful, I couldn’t imagine them as countertops. The very thought was sacrilege. Who knew that shopping for granite could be such a nourishing experience?
The thing is, this kind of soul lightening stuff is available every day, if we open our eyes to it. We need to unearth the bowl, so to speak. We need to climb out from under the “have to” and into the “just because”. Now I try to pause, even if only in my mind, and thank God for the beauty revealed to me each day; for the lime green ruffle on the little girl’s coat, a favorite tune coming in on the car radio, the scent of lilacs, every hug I receive from my kids. I also thank God for all those artists, poets, writers, actors, dancers, musicians, architects, gardeners, interior designers, landscapers—anyone who, by pursuing their passion, makes this world even more beautiful than it already is—anyone who can make us stop and look—anyone who can, for one second, take our minds off of our troubles. I’m trying to even up the score and add a little delight to my drudgery and I invite you to do the same. Have you seen the bottom of the bowl lately?
Feature picture taken by me. The Bowl. 🙂
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