Good Zeal

Pauses and perspectives

Earlier this week, a lovely snowfall graced the morning hours here at Sacred Heart. I went out to walk and watch, and lingered for a while on the porch of a small house behind the monastery. I’ve been on that porch many a time, but that day, as my eyes traced the path of some birds in flight, I saw the back of the chapel from a vantage point that I’d never viewed it from before. This snapshot doesn’t capture the serene beauty of the scene, but the unexpected sight of the chapel – not only from a new angle, but through the pines and the gently falling snow – was a moment of grace.

Later that day, in the evening hours, I took a walk along the far bank of the small lake on our property. I paused, cast a sideways glance, and in the glow of a street lamp noticed a series of fishing bobbers dangling from a power wire, the fruit of some unfortunate casts of a fishing rod. They were strangely beautiful as they dangled against the night sky like an array of planets in miniature.

Like the porch, I had walked the far bank many a time, yet had never noticed those stranded bobbers. All it took was a pause, a glance in a new direction, and the half-light of a nearby lamp for something new to suddenly be revealed within the ordinary landscape.

If you’re anything like me, in our busy-ness we can sometimes tend to walk in straight lines, to move between hither and yon in the most efficient way possible. Not only do we fail to pause, but we keep our focus straight ahead, our minds on the work at hand. Our perspective stays fixed, static, and familiar. Yet a simple pause – even one as fleeting as a gesture, or as subtle as a turn of the head – can sometimes be enough for us to see anew the beauty and goodness that surrounds us. All we need are eyes that are alert, open, and ready to see beyond the straight lines of our usual perspectives.

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