On errands, during a clear Seattle afternoon, I look out my car window to see an East African mother carrying groceries home with four children, all under ten. The mother wears a long, dark wrapper dress and holds the youngest child, a girl, on her hip, a grocery bag clutched in her other arm. She wears a huge smile on her face and walks as if neither the child nor the groceries are cumbersome. Her three sons carry the rest of the groceries. They seem to be in the middle of a great conversation. The boys are animated and laughing. One will hurry to the front of the line and turn around to walk backwards to tell a story to his brothers. Are they talking about sports? Minecraft? Acting out a family story? This ordinary scene seems important to me. Magnified. Overflowing with love. And I realize I am seeing through God’s eyes for a moment. This family is precious to God, who loves them.
There are moments when I am driving in my car or taking a walk and everything my eyes land on is beautiful and precious to me. These moments do not happen often, so when they do, I really notice.
Have you ever had such a moment, when you look at the world, at interactions between strangers and families, and everything is precious?
I hope this is not just me. Mind you, I do not look at the world like this all the time. Most of the time I am grumpier and more forlorn than I would like. But there are days when the world seems to sparkle.
I’ve noticed this happens when I have spent more time in prayer, listening or looking deeply for signs of God’s presence in my life. I imagine God showing up in some hugely recognizable way. But God usually appears in dozens of small ways that add up to a full life, a full Presence in my day.
Ever since my sons were newborns, I have made up songs to sing to them. Many have the tunes of well-known nursery rhymes or commercial jingles, but most are my own odd creations. One of these peculiar little ditties goes like this: “You are so precious. You are so precious. And your mommy and your daddy, well, they love you very much!” The song is not going to win any Grammys, but now at ages 10 and 11, my boys have heard the song enough to have its message seep into their pores. They are so very precious to me.
Now they sing it back to me! And I know that I am loved by them but also that we are teaching each other to see as God sees us: even if he had a hundred sheep and we went astray, God would run after us. We are precious in his sight.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.
Thank you Shemaiah for this rich reflection. Indeed every life is precious in the eyes of the Giver of life.
Lovely description of how you find God in all things, the quotidian things you can overlook in passing. I find that though, regrettably, Covid has made our world smaller, in so doing it has had dialed down the microscope on the small wonders that busy life otherwise obscures. Thanks for this post.
Thank you , a timely reminder for all of us. God Bless. A.M.D.G.
As I was reading this delightful story of the mother and her four children, I thought of how unexpectedly moments of happiness can happen for us. It can be a smile, a look, an awakening, or something in nature. GM Hopkins’ superb poem “The Windhover” is an example of the poet experiencing this unexpected blessing.
Thanks for sharing this Shemaiah. I know what you mean when you see the many and varied events of the day sparkling with God – divine dust! This echoes the sacrament of the present moment – abandonment to divine providence (Jean-Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment). Thank you.
It’s not just you.
Shemaiah, thank you for a beautiful reflection. The images you paint with your words are touching.
Your reflection reminds me that each of us is invited to embrace the joy of being a mystic of the ordinary. For it is the gift of the mystic to behold in the ordinary, the extraordinary imprint of God’s vision of the world and each of us.
Thank you for the images and the song!