Tag Archives: slowing life down

Do You See the Extraordinary in the Ordinary?

The other day I went to a friend’s house and she served water for us in a glass pitcher with ice and sliced lemons.  We drank it out of real glasses.  At my house if you want a glass of water you get a plastic cup held under the faucet. Close up of a jug of iced water with lemon wheels - shallow dof

No shimmering glass pitchers.

No ice.

No lemons.

That pitcher of water with floating lemon slices and ice has been on my mind for days.

Isn’t that crazy?  So I figure if it’s been on my mind, God wants me to learn something from that pitcher of water.

What struck me first was the beauty of it.  It was just plain beautiful to see those yellow slices swirling around with the ice.  I’ve never had a knack for making things beautiful.  I’m plain and practical.  Maybe that bothers me.

Actually, I know that bothers me.

I would like to have an eye and that touch that brings more beauty into my life.  I have a friend who made a gorgeous decoration out of an old window frame.

Just Beautiful.

My jaw dropped and I thought if I brought an old window frame my house, someone would say, “You know, you don’t have to hang on to that old thing – garbage pickup will take old windows.”

Two ordinary things – water and a window frame – were made into something extraordinary.  There is the potential for beauty everywhere, in everything and in everyone.   Ordinary water can be taken from the tap and made extraordinary in a simple glass pitcher with some lemons.  An ugly, old window can be pulled out of the garbage, dusted off and made into a beautiful wall hanging.

This is what God does.  He takes the ordinary in our lives and makes it extraordinary.  He takes the ugly and makes it beautiful.  He has an eye to see what’s possible.  From the darkness, he made light and from the dust, he made life.

And he wants us to see what he sees.

When we see our world through God’s eyes it’s easier to see the beauty of it.  We’re the ones that make it ugly.  We tend to see the worst in others and ourselves.

So what can we do to see the beauty that God sees?

Be present.  Live in the now.  If we live with regret, we’re living in the past.  If we live with worry, we’re living in the future.  We can’t be mindful of the now – this moment – if we’re disconnected and somewhere else.  And if we’re not really present, we can’t see the beauty that surrounds us.

Breathe deeply.

Listen intently.

Feel the ground beneath your feet.

Find the good.  We humans are good at complaining and seeing the worst in people, circumstances and events.  Ask someone how their day is going and often they’ll tell you a list of all the bad things – long traffic lights, spilled coffee, or their achy back.

We tend to focus on all the things lacking in our lives instead of the good.

We dwell on all the bad things about ourselves – we pick ourselves apart and cut ourselves down.  It takes practice to find the good.

See things for the first time.  Because our lives are busy with schedules and obligations dictating our days, we often loose our sense of wonder.  We stop noticing the simple things that can bring joy.

Really taste that cup of coffee.  Really look at the gorgeous maple tree in your front yard.  Sit quietly and feel the sun on your face.  Look into someones eyes when they’re talking – without giving them the heebee jeebees, of course.  Rediscover the wonder of seeing things for the first time.

Slow Down

All this sounds well and good – seeing the beauty in your ordinary world and in yourself is a nice thought.  We dwell on it a moment and fling ourselves right back into our hectic lives.  So what we really need to do is slow down.  We can’t be present, find the good and feel a sense wonder if our minds are racing at the speed of light.

I would have never noticed the beautiful pitcher of water if my mind was elsewhere and I was just quenching my thirst with quick gulps. I needed to be present and in that moment.

It takes effort to see beauty in the ordinary or making something beautiful out of something that most would see as ugly. This is what God does everyday.  And if we choose, we can do the same.

What ordinary things do you find beautiful in your life?  Is there ugliness that God has made beautiful?