You are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you. ~ Saint Augustine
We came into closer connection with a lot of people on our trip to Colorado.
Smiles or nods were exchanged with most of the people we saw. Or a slight raise of the hand as I passed fellow runners on the trails. Hikers seem especially courteous.
Words were exchanged with some of the people. An older gentleman commented on the collegiate sweatshirt my daughter was wearing while eating breakfast one day. While strolling downtown, a shopkeeper let us know she could see we weren’t from around there. That started a really nice conversation with her.
The waiter at the restaurant chuckled when my daughter ordered sweet tea then offered her something else.
We met a mother and daughter from Chicago on one of our hikes. The daughter is looking at the local college. Her mother was nervous on the hike, worried about bears and mountain lions but mostly the edges of the mountains and going higher and higher.
We met our son’s friends for the first time. We cooked for them and ate with them. We looked them in the eyes and talked with them and asked them about their lives. I think we were more interested in them than they were in us.
But it was so good to come into closer connection with them.
We learn from others. About them and ourselves. About who we were and who we are and sometimes about who we want to be. We learn about humanity in general.
If we pay attention.
Each one of us has a story. An important one. And we are changed by them.
If we pay attention.
Even from a distance we can be changed and learn from others. I don’t know the climber pictured here on the mountain. When I saw him I was impressed with his smallness. From observing him, I learn that he is brave and he invested a lot of time to be on that mountain.
I’m sure he felt his smallness and that his heart was full of awe and wonder.
The sun was still low in the sky when I went on my first run here this morning. I found a beautiful park with lots of running trails. We are in Colorado visiting my son and we’re beyond happy to be here.
We hiked the Flatirons yesterday. My son was a great guide…..excited for us to experience it. He forgets that we’re not as brave as he is. He likes to go off trail and scale rocks and jump from one rock to another. I watch him and wonder and then I’m brave.
This is a place he shines. The outdoors….a new place……rugged and risky.
..the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. Number 6:25
We all know what it’s like to look for something. Sometimes the thing we’re looking for is lost. We had it….but lost it……so we search for it. Like keys or a receipt or your wallet.
Sometimes the thing we’re looking for isn’t a thing at all. It’s a feeling. Or answers. Or a memory or truth.
I’ve heard of people trying to find themselves. I think they mean they’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into this big world and maybe they’re trying to make sense of it all.
We’ve all searched. We all have a sense of longing……..for something we can’t quite name.
So we travel the world and see all there is to see.
We seek adventure and hike the highest peaks and explore deep waters and jump out of airplanes.
We get the PhD from the best university.
We build a career that lets us make plenty of money so we can drive the best cars and dine at the finest restaurants and have an extra house at the beach.
We buy the trendiest outfits, dye our hair, get implants and tattoos, have our stomachs stapled and noses reshaped.
We marry that guy or that girl and when it doesn’t work out we move on to the next one that’s supposed to make us happy.
When those things don’t work we self-medicate to numb the ache.
Different thrill. New place. Bigger house. More stuff.
But the search continues because none of those things, not one of them, eases the ache inside.
The longing remains.
C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…. Jeremiah 29:11-14a (NIV)
Yesterday he flew to Colorado with one bag, a backpack, and no job. Last year he drove from our home in Alabama to a little town in Texas. He had a job waiting there but that was all. After the job ran out, he came home long enough to work at a place making pallets. He saved a little money, bought a plane ticket, and flew to his next adventure.
He’s 19. He says college isn’t for him. Neither is a permanent job right now.
He wants to see places and do things. The kind of things you can do before you get the kind of things you have to do.
I had dreams of doing the same but I waited too long. College and jobs and marriage and little ones took the place of adventures in far off places.
I admire his courage.
One of the first places he explored is wherever this photo was taken. He hiked the mountains near Boulder a few hours after he landed.
He is seeing beauty he’s never seen before and climbing mountains and meeting new friends. He is learning and growing.
And it’s not too late for me to see beauty I’ve never seen before or swim in a different ocean or see a sunset on a new horizon.
In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Pure and the Daily Prompt Daring.