Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She loved life and was entranced by the beauty in the world around her. She learned and believed that the beauty and order she saw around her originated with God, the Creator of the Universe, and she grew to know and love Him as she learned about Him through His Word. She had wonderful opportunities through her school days to learn about the earth, the amazing creatures and individuals that inhabit it and the universe that holds it.
As she grew, she started paying less attention to the beauty that surrounded her and became more absorbed with what she had to do. She forgot to pay more attention to who she was than to what she was doing. She forgot that it's really important to pay attention to who you are.
She didn't forget about God, by any means, but she starting thinking that He cared most about what she did and how well she did it. She got very, very busy and eventually stopped thinking about the beauty around her altogether. She became a young woman, and a fairly productive one. She didn't take very good care of herself, but she was astoundingly efficient and just about as astoundingly proud of this. When something beautiful did surprise her, it was only a brief moment before she ducked her head back into her busyness and kept moving. Sometimes, she listened to the wiser people around her and engineered an opportunity to step into nature, but even then it was strictly scheduled and she was largely distracted.
The strangest part of this story is that she didn't realize how beauty-deprived she was. Even her personal worship had become clouded with almost frantic activity as she focused less on her relationship with God and more on goals and lists and private "achievements." She forgot that it's really important to pay attention to the beauty of the Creator and of His Creation.
Then, one day, there was a change. This girl-turned-busy-woman got a second chance.
It was the first day of Spring in 2006 when she suddenly remembered the smell of freshly tilled earth. She had moved to a farming community, and perhaps she caught the scent during her commute, but whatever the trigger, she was captivated by it. She remembered the vegetable gardens from her childhood and realized with an ache that she hadn't been noticing the season changes aside from obvious holidays and necessary wardrobe swaps.
She planted a garden. She stopped staring at catalogs and began thinking about what was truly attractive to her. She started taking walks and actually considering what she saw as she went along. After that first moment, the changes were slow, but the girl eventually started paying attention to beauty again.
Most importantly, she remembered that God is more concerned about who we are than He is about what we accomplish. He knows our hearts and motives! She renewed her relationship with Him and started basking in His beauty again.
Today, she often thinks about how close she came to living a life filled with activity of no real value, and thinks about what she would have missed if she never remembered to look for beauty in life. Her story isn't over yet, but she is determined that it will have a happy ending. Stay tuned to see how her quest to find one stunningly beautiful moment each day goes. It will be an adventure.