22 October, 2011

the way things go

It was a perfectly cool and sunny day and I was riding the train into the city, on my way to an art museum. I had been planning this day for some time. I would go downtown and walk through the crowds, observing, feeling both like I was part of the crowd and yet completely separate from everybody else. At the museum I would spend as much time as I wanted, alone, in front of each piece. Relishing the fact that I would take the whole day for myself, without obligations to anybody else or to anything else. Pausing to write or think, or stop thinking. In fact I was thinking entirely too much - about school, my family, what I wanted to do with my life, everything. Shortly before I got to my train station, where Ian and I would part ways, I told him that I couldn't decide if I wanted to sit and think about everything or not at all. His response? Either one would all be all right as long as I didn't think about thinking because, according to Aristotle, that's what God does. Well, then.

I got off at the wrong station, so that answered that question. It was a good answer. After walking and studying my map for some time (I'm somewhat slightly anti-GPS) I arrived at the museum and the first work that caught my eye was a film titled, "The Way Things Go". How fitting. I reflected on how I have felt so much gratitude recently for the way things go and the way that life sometimes seems to hand me exactly what I need, often without even knowing I needed it. Maybe I just take it and spin it this way in my head, but I feel no less gracious for it. Do you know what I mean? Things like seeing hundreds of faces that snapped me out of feeling sorry for myself, or a conversation with a friend about faith and hope that made me realize how special our friendship was, or something I read that encouraged me to write a little bit more often, just for myself.

How often do I miss the opportunity to see things in this light? But when I do realize what a blessing this world is, it is such a joy. Suddenly I am surrounded by a magical world with trains rushing by and people leaving work and children on their way home from school. In cars, on bicycles, walking, listening to headphones, carrying shopping bags. I see each of them as amazing individuals. I feel so blessed to witness these people in their daily routines, to glimpse their worlds as an outsider. It's incredibly beautiful.

What fills you with gratitude? Is there some little thing that reminds you that the world is full of beautiful things?

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