If We Pay Attention

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.

Mine was.

Saintly

This part of the Three Quotes for Three Days Challenge issued by my friend Vanessa at Simple Joys.  Thank you Vanessa.

Isn’t it odd how, whatever our faith and belief may be, we sometimes come to the edge of an idea as though we are about to enter something extraordinary and real, but at the last moment we turn our backs and walk away?

Ravi Zacharias in The Grand Weaver

In a world that always wants to do, we hardly know what it is to be.

Ravi Zacharias in The Grand Weaver

Knowledge is desirable, but alone it’s dangerous. Unless knowledge is laid atop goodness – anchored to it – we grow susceptible to snobbery and smugness. A big head on a small soul is ugly as an orc. 

Mark Buchanan in Hidden In Plain Sight

That an ape has hands is far less interesting to the philosopher than the fact that having hands he does next to nothing with them; does not play knuckle-bones or the violin; does not carve marble or carve mutton. The chasm between man and other creatures may have a natural explanation, but it is a chasm.

G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them.

G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

“I had always believed that the world involved magic:  now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician.  And this pointed to a profound emotion always present and sub-conscious; that this world of ours has some purpose: and if there is a purpose, there is a person.  I had always felt life first as a story; and if there is a story there is a story-teller.”

G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy