For the first half of October, I walked for the benefit of A21. During that time, I decided to document my life in pictures. I journaled what I did during those days. I thought it’d be a cool thing to do. I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.
At the end of my 21 days, the thing that sticks with me most is this: I didn’t know how happy I was until I was paying attention to every little thing in my life. Right now, I’m still unemployed, Covid-19 is still ongoing for the near future, until a couple weeks ago we weren’t going to a building to church, and like most other people I felt disenchanted with 2020.
I realized that I usually look for the big things to make us happy. But those things don’t last. I pay attention to the events in life to see the wonderful more than I look to the little, every day things.
For example, just 8 months ago, I got married and went on a beautiful honeymoon. We came home to wonderful gifts and catching up with friends and family. We spent a day just being together before C went back to work. then corona. Social distance. School closures. Job opportunities lost. Life changed. Bad attitudes. Uncertainty. Negativity became the front and center attention of our daily lives.
I got used to it. Just this mundane, grey feeling cast over everything. Then I slowly found passion and hope in the darkness. In activism. In blogging. In writing. In doing good in the world. Where there was burn out, slowly there is rebirth. Slowly there is mental health. Slowly there is care. There is a rebirth of passion and drive and hope and peace and love.
This 21 days is the second time in my life I have begun to see. It wasn’t until the end of the third day, that I realized I had stopped seeing the wonderful beautiful, amazing, hopeful world around me. I was taking a photo of my night stand and dresser top. I realized that this really is just ordinary-beautiful.
This same thing happened to me about 10 years ago. I realized I wasn’t seeing. I began to focus in on the world around me. It was truly amazing. The vivid green of a tree in spring against a grey sky. The smell of rain hanging on the air. The feeling of walking along and experiencing my physical human self. Focusing in on what it feels like to move my legs and look around and hear the sounds around me.
The slow fall of white snow against s steely sky. Flakes drifting lazily down to cover a drab concrete base. Feet slowly slogging through the snow drifts. Heearing the muffled sounds of my steps, the crunch of tires as cars slowly creep along. The creak of ice covered branches swaying in the breeze.
Now I can see past the momentary struggles of everyday life. I see the ordinary-beautiful surrounding me everywhere. Rufus’ classic head tilt to the left as I ask him a question in just the right tone. The snuggling back in bed in the morning with frozen toes. Wedding rings on the holder at the end of the night. Art on the walls. Photos of moments captured in time on the mantle. Decorating for fall and making little crafts for the season. Waking up each morning without fear. Living each day with a lightened heart and peace beyond all understanding. Resting each night from worthy work. Prayer each morning and evening.
The rhythms of life bring beauty too. Seasons change. People change. Perspective changes. People grow and become better. Waking to pray, praying to sleep. Rest on Sunday. Work on Monday. Its all beautiful in its own way.
Every day, I walked for at least a kilometer (2/3 mile). Most of the time it was more. It created its own beautiful rhythm. I often went to the river in my town and took pictures as I walked.
Documenting Each day helped me to be present in the moment. I focused in on the everyday things that I often took for granted. I found joy in things long adapted to.
I happily took notice of the change in seasons. My joy was increased with each new observation that I encountered. the change in season brought with it a change in my mood a brighter, more hopeful day was now here.
My home and my life are beautiful. My people are both difficult and easy. My life is both crazy and wonderful. My pets are cared for and noticed more than ever. I appreciate all of this more than I have before. I see the things I am surrounded by. I feel the blessing of my home. I am engaged in community both remote and physically. Even though things look different, with Covid19 here to stay a while, its better this way. The old is new again. From my 21 days, I have found hope and peace beyond all understanding.
The bottom line is that things are hard, things are different, and how we do life is both difficult and different. Yet, with all the nutty things that are in this life, it’s still beautiful, wonderful, crazy, hard, terrible, and so much more all at once.
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