A couple of weeks ago, Ian and I went on vacation to British Columbia. We went back to Salt Spring Island, a little island off of Victoria, where we honeymooned nearly five years ago. Charlotte stayed back here with my mom and had some quality grandma time… for that we are so thankful. It was peaceful to wake up every morning, look at the ocean, watch the sunrise and take in the beauty of the mountains. I found myself taking lots of pictures… of the sky, the mountains, the flowers and trees, the ocean – everything. We went on hikes, drove around the island, ate great food, and took time to slow down and breathe. I found myself feeling more at peace, relaxed, and able to be present in the moment. It felt like time stopped when I sat on the deck to watch the sun rise.
One morning while we were there watching the sun rise, I prayed and asked God to help me to keep this feeling upon returning home. This feeling of peace and security, of being present and not just looking but really seeing what was in front of me. I have thought about that prayer a lot, and I know that God has been testing me.
I love living in the city, but there are many distractions. Advertisements for this and that, the internet, work, parenthood, social media. Some of these things are so beautiful – like parenthood. And some of these things can be so bombarding – like social media. I have already succumbed to being distracted, spending too much time on my phone, being busy, and looking but not seeing. I try and capture the beauty of things… Charlotte’s smile, a flower, the sun. But I have a hard time slowing down, and being in the moment. I look and think, “How nice…” and then the next thing to do pops into my mind.
I know this is a part of life, and maybe until I am retired I won’t have the pleasure of sitting and looking at the sky and mountains for hours. But maybe that’s not what I was hoping for when I prayed that prayer back on the island. Maybe I wasn’t hoping for a life without distraction and worry… I think that is impossible. I think I was hoping for an inner feeling of peace and presence that comes from God. I know when I look at the mountains and sky that God created those things and maybe some of that is what brings me a feeling of peace. But I want to feel that when I am in traffic, when I’m looking at a grey sky, when I eat a delicious bite of food, when I hug Charlotte and sing to her, when I am at work… In all things.
This can take a lot of practice. I can’t just switch on “peace” and feel great about everything. But I can practice, ask God for help, and choose to look at things with peace filled eyes. I know practice makes progress. I have trusted this progress through my work at The Dale. Five years ago, it was all new. I had a hard time being in the moment, not worrying about the future, and seeing the beauty of it all. Now with time, patience, experience, and help, I can see that there is beauty here and love and joy and hardship and pain and that it all goes together – hand in hand.
I pray today that through practice I can see the beauty in life’s everyday, simple mundane moments. And I pray that for you too. May you see things today with peace filled eyes. We all need a little practice!
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto. In order to do this work, I must fundraise my entire salary. If you enjoy these blogs and hearing about life here at The Dale, my pondering, and what I am learning I hope that you would consider becoming a financial supporter so that I can continue to do this work. Please visit https://www.thedale.org/donate/ ! Thank you!