It’s those wild sunflowers that grow on the side of the road…

They always get me. They just beam at me.

And I smile as I drive because I love those summertime sunshine flowers and I love that they’re always there.

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”

And it’s those halos of yellow and orange and gold that sprout up like wildfire all over the roadside – the boring roadside – that remind me to put on my miracle shades and roll down the windows.

They strike me with their brightness. I can’t help but light up a little myself and I try not to stare too long as I drive. Yes, there is beauty everywhere. Yes, it is easy to miss all these little miracles in the busyness of life. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing to see the wheat rippling in the breeze or a thousand sunny flowers on your way to work, and stop for a moment and admire. It takes discipline to keep looking and stopping to see with more than just your eyes on a daily basis.

But more importantly, when you make this a habit and you practice it with gratitude, those miracle shades start to change other things too: ugly things, broken things, painful things. We see the cycles of the seasons, we watch the faithful rising sun each morning and evening, we laugh at the squirrels chasing and climbing their way through life. We follow the bees to the flowers and they dip their legs in and fly home. We learn to not just appreciate the beauty but to see it as miracle.

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When you see a little, you start to see more.

They say that a miracle is something that cannot be explained by scientific or natural law. So maybe science can explain what’s happening when the Northern Lights come to play, but can it really? Is that not still a miracle of light that inspires awe and wonder? So we learn to see the simple, the natural, as miracle too. And then we see that there are miracles all around – everywhere you turn.

The miracle shades become even more vibrant and maybe we look in the rear view mirror and we see some bright dots in that dark patch we went through. We start searching for more. We start hunting for the stars in the blackness. But is it the stars alone that make the night sky such a majesty? Stars shine day and night but it’s the night that allows us to see.

So when we can’t explain the suffering, could we dare to call it a miracle too? What of this whole world can we truly explain? We name based on feelings and understanding, but the truth is, we simply don’t know. We are limited.

That’s what miracle shades are: a way of seeing despite our limitations. They are not just bright or optimistic or positive. They are vibrant. You see the contrast. You see the color. You see the radiance of it all together, and how the miracle isn’t just the blinking stars but the whole experience in full.

So, I name it all miracle. I call it all good. Sometimes I see, sometimes I don’t. And a lot of the time I wait. I wait – and look – to see because I know I will. I believe it, somewhere deep down, that no matter how much life hurts at times, no matter what I see now, no matter what I feel…there is always more. And it is going to be stunning.

 

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And, believe me, it was divine.

The smoke from the fire traveled far, and the normally clear Colorado air was hazy that day. I didn’t think much of it until the sun began to set, and, believe me, it was divine. This picture can’t capture the radiance. It’s funny how the eye can see fuller than the camera, and yet somehow still, we do not see in full.

We can dive deep into the waters of always looking, and still be always missing. This blurry fire-soaked sky with its consuming ball of fury sinking low – this was easy to see. Really, how could you miss it?

But everything isn’t always like that. Just because something is not displayed so overtly beautiful, does not mean that it isn’t stunning nonetheless. Behind-the-veil stunning must be sought out by the hunters with adrenaline-hearts soaked through with the aroma of life. It must be beheld in the inner eye and caught as the breath catches in the throat and the looker renders breathless.

There’s something in it, don’t you think? I think it’s called the breath of life for a reason. When something takes our breath away, what does that speak? Too much for me to hold, too much for me to live sowing and reaping the life of lungs, when there is something so much more worthy of that very breath, that very life. It says surrender, give it back, worship what I cannot comprehend by giving that which I cannot live without.

And, oh, that I would not stop here. That I would not stop ever. That I would always be seeing more, seeing deeper. When you catch just a glimpse of it, you have to catch more. You have to be caught by it, held by it, bowed to it. To live with self bowed low is by far greater than to live with self elevated high.

See through the veil and see through to glory.

 

 

 

Just Some Thoughts…

 

“Rejecting joy to stand in the solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest light to all the world.” ~Ann Voskamp

I love this woman. Every word that drips from her pen is ripe with sweet truth.

I’ve read words of hers where she talks about how cynicism, despite it’s “supposed sophistication”, is actually simplicity: it’s easier. She points out how it is much more profound to choose to see what is beautiful. Here, she urges the same. We have grown up to learn a message of turning away from the ugly in our world, or drowning in the hysteria of the news. We focus on all things bad, all things evil, all things wrong – and what good does it do? Does it help us to stand in the solidarity with the suffering?

To choose to see beauty in the midst of the marred world and to choose to believe in goodness and see through the ugliness – now that is courageous! In my own life, I know joy heals. The joyous are the ones who light up rooms, lift heavy hearts, draw dark clouded people nearer until clouds lift and sight becomes clear. The joyful are FULL, and they bring life-saving sustenance to the world around them!