For The Beauty of the Earth & More

There's a lot to be upset about these days.  The world is wracked with wars being waged in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  There's no end to the saber-rattling by governments all over the world. 

And over the last few weeks, we've seen yet another mass shooting, violence, and threats against Jewish Americans have risen to a new high, and the U.S. government seems like a hopeless morass of idiocy and incompetence. 

To that last one, many of us might feel like saying, "What else is new?" 

It's easy to get down about the state of things, and many of us find ourselves doing exactly that.  I know I have.  

And yet, I took our dogs for a walk yesterday, and the cloudless sky was as blue as I've seen it in a long time, and the air was crisp and cool.  I found myself turning my face to the sun and listening to the birds in the trees, the soft padding of the dogs' footsteps, and thinking to myself. 

"What a beautiful day." 

The night before, I sat outside handing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters while my fire pit crackled and warmed me.  The sound of Disney's Halloween playlist was on the Bluetooth speaker, and there was laughter and great conversations with my neighbors. 

We get a lot of Trick-or-Treaters in our neighborhood, and it was wonderful to watch kids being kids, filled with joy, decked out in costumes, enjoying the chilly fall weather, and loving the moment. 

There's so much beauty in the world sometimes.  

The other day, I read an incredible quote from the poet Iain Thomas that resonated with me so much that I felt I needed to share it: 
"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
That quote meant so much to me, especially now with all that is happening in the world that isn't as it should be. 

It made me think of those two wonderful moments over the past few days when I breathed, smiled, and felt gratitude for all that was good, beautiful, and true in my life. 

Breathing is important, as it turns out.  We do it so often without ever considering the beauty of it and all that it means to us.  But occasionally, we remember that we are breathing and can slow it down, hold it, take in all the air, and let it out into the world. 

Remember to breathe. 

Long ago, I read about how some ancient Hebrew scholars believed that when we breathe, we actually say the name of God (YAHWEH) as we do. I love that idea.  It's beautiful and instructive all at once.  

The beauty of our breathing... the glory embedded in Creation... the small moments when we find ourselves in touch with what is right in the world... 

These important and lovely things are what we need to be connected to during times of hardship and trial.  They can help us keep the ugliness at bay, the bad news in perspective, and our gratitude to a loving God at the forefront of our minds. 

So, find the space to breathe today.  Take in the wonder of Creation.  Focus on the beautiful things in the world and commit them to memory.  This is the stuff of abundant life. 

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, now and forever. Amen.  


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