It was just supposed to be small talk. We were killing time while we waited to make sure I wasn’t going to have an adverse reaction to a vaccine. I can pretty much guarantee you that she has no memory of our conversation, but it made a lasting impression on me and has quickly become a treasured memory.
We were talking about the weather and where we lived before we moved to Colorado—a very typical point of conversation for those of us in Colorado. She was from somewhere in the Mid-West. I grew up in New England. Our conversation naturally turned to how beautiful Colorado is, especially when the sun is coming up in the morning. When the sun hits the Rocky Mountains just right at sunrise, the mountains turn the prettiest shade of purple, and for a few moments the red rock formations in the Garden of the Gods look like they’re glowing from the inside out. I’m not a morning person, so it’s not a sight I see very often, but I’m never sorry when I do.
“I try to notice something beautiful every day,” she said simply. Our chat was supposed to be a lighthearted way to pass a few minutes of time, but I was instantly reminded of Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).
“I love that!” I replied, and it’s become somewhat of a personal challenge to intentionally notice things that are lovely and admirable and true, despite the messiness than comes with life. Here are just a few ways I’ve observed God’s goodness and beauty recently:
- After a once-in-a-hundred-years “atmospheric river” in Vancouver, BC, the sun came out!
- My two-year-old nephew sang “Silent Night” instead of saying grace at the dinner table and ended his prayer with “Amen! Yay God! Cha cha cha!”
- At the Converge conference in San Diego there were hugs and smiles with friends we hadn’t seen in what felt like forever, conversations around the firepits at the end of a long day, and even a surprise delivery of flowers from a dear friend who wasn’t able to join us in person.
- Yesterday, I saw a sidewalk chalk message that said, “I hope you have a great day!”
It’s easy to find beauty in God’s creation, but it can also be found in the joy in a student’s eyes when she finally grasps the concept she’s been struggling to learn; in the fullness of a child’s laughter when he discovers something funny for the first time; in a small act of kindness that almost went unnoticed. There’s so much unloveliness in the world: the pandemic, social and political unrest, exhaustion as we head into the final stretch of the school year (at least here in North America). It’s easy to get discouraged and pessimistic. Let’s strive to keep Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians at the front of our minds. Let’s try to notice something beautiful every day.
Let’s practice! What is something lovely you have seen, recently? Tell us in the comments.[Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in March 2022. We are reposting it in 2023 with the hope that it continues to bring encouragement.]