It doesn’t take much to stop me in my tracks these days. “Will you look at that? The cotton fluff from the poplars makes it look as if it’s snowing.” “Wait a minute. Did you see how that little girl laid her hand on her daddy’s face? That’s the definition of tenderness, right there.” “This gas station has the best view! Right across the street—Lake Michigan all sparkled up for spring.”
I’m savoring the little details of life, like the way the black currant juice satisfies from the fragrance alone even before I take a sip. The delectable wonder of just the right pillow. Crazy colored cotton socks. The unique blue ink of my favorite gel pen. Almost cornflower blue, which I wouldn’t know how to describe if it weren’t for the Crayola company.
Too often I’ve forgotten that the path God set us on is a path with a view, not unlike this photograph taken on a recent mini-vacation. To stay upright, we have to pay attention to the path. To stay fulfilled, we can’t lose sight of the view along the way.
Does that resonate with you, too? If I get too focused on the next step in my journey—relationally, spiritually, in my career—a whole world of “Will you look at that?” will pass by unnoticed.
The mother of a newborn may “waste” an hour watching her baby sleeping, watching a dream-smile flash across the serene face, watching the baby’s chest rise and fall. An experienced mom may not take the time for fear the laundry will push against the ceiling tiles. A grandmother may “waste” an hour watching her grandchild sleep for the sheer joy of observing and savoring the fleeting moments.
What happened in the middle? Life became more about the path than about the view.
If someone asks about your life and you pull out your calendar rather than your pictures, or give a list rather than tell a story, what does that say about where our attention is focused? If asked to describe the last year of your life’s journey, would you start with what the path looked like or what the scenery held?
It’s a question I’m asking myself. My husband asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. I almost answered, “I can’t. I need to get this blog written.” Instead, I said, “Sure. Let me get a jacket.”
We wandered across the yard and up the hill to our pond. We sat on the two-person swing by the water and watched red-winged black birds alternately scold us and each other. We took turns guessing what was making that ripple in the surface of the pond. Muskrat? Turtle? Nessie? Then we wandered back the way we’d come, kicking at pine cones and dandelions, talking about nothing much but holding hands while we did, noting that the garage needs a new roof one of these days, remarking that the rain had washed away the last remnants of the grandchildren’s chalk art on the driveway.
The words waited until I got back to them. They always do.
I hadn’t stopped to smell the roses. No roses in my garden. But I noticed that the smell of lilacs and lily-of-the-valley are completely compatible.
It may have been my imagination, but I thought I caught God smiling there for a minute. I wasn’t describing the roughness of the path under my feet but the beauty of the view that lined the path on all sides.
Novelists are good at observing details when they need them for a story world. But sometimes we get so engrossed in the writing process that we miss the color of the sky in our own world.
I agree with the psalmist who said, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head,” Psalm 3:3 ESV. When I forget that this path He has me on comes with a view, He puts one finger under my chin and lifts my focus so I don’t miss the scenery while I’m navigating the path.
Does He do that for you, too? Tell me about the last time He lifted your head to redirect your line of sight. Our stories feed each other’s faith, don’t they?
Cynthia Ruchti is an author and speaker who tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, nonfiction, and through speaking engagements for women’s groups and writers’ events. Her latest novel—When the Morning Glory Blooms—gave her a new view of the landscape of grace with its limitless horizon. You can learn more about that book or the others Cynthia has written through her website www.cynthiaruchti.com or by connecting through www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage or www.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti .