As I was walking to Jeremiah Joe Coffee in Ottawa one day this week to get a raspberry iced tea, I looked down and noticed some purple tulips sprouting through the ground.
I reached into my pockets to get my phone so I could share the moment of beauty with the cyber world...and it wasn't there.
Just my luck.
I take that God-forsaken thing with me everywhere I go — even to bed — and the moment I need it to do something to inspire humanity, it's nowhere to be found.
So often it is like that, isn't it?
We're finally conscious enough for a moment to notice something like purple petals shooting through the dirt on a city sidewalk and the most we can do to appreciate it is savor it for a moment and hopefully let it register in our thickly wired brains.
On second thought, maybe that's all I was *supposed* to do in that technology-free moment. Notice the purple tulips, and not worry about my phone.
I have a friend on Facebook, an interfaith minister who lives in Nebraska and also just published a book called "Finding God on Mulberry Street."
I enjoy Donna's posts and often "like" them or "heart" them.
Whatever she does, she slows down and really takes in her environment. She sees the world with poetic eyes. She sees the world as ripe with beauty.
And, she always signs her posts:
When I first became friends with her, that signature word "Beauty" left a strong impression on me.
It worked its way into my psyche and reminded me, in one simple word, to be on the lookout for Beauty.
Because the truth is, it is everywhere.
As much in the darker corners of our lives, as those brightly shining.
I find beauty in the messy piles of to-be-read books scattered throughout my room, and (sorry, Mom) the messy piles of to-be-washed laundry on my bedroom floor. (For those of you who might be scratching your heads at that one, to me a messy pile of laundry is a sign of life, of living; and that laundry holds within it the particles and emotions of the days I wore them, the good, the bad, the ugly. And the laughter.) It still needs to be washed and put away, yes; but in the meantime, it is a living, breathing organism.
On a more serious note, and one I have been wrestling with recently, I find beauty in the unknown, uncertain parts of our lives as we wait for the light to pierce through and to stand on solid ground once again. Usually this kind of beauty isn't obvious to me until after the storm has passed.
For me, there is obvious beauty in my moose dog and his endless antics, and my nephew practicing his culinary skills, and my other nephew developing his natural artistic skills and them both being excited about their unique gifts they've been given to offer this world.
And this weekend, there will be all kinds of beauty in celebrating Easter and the new life it brings with family and friends (and food!).
Whatever season you find yourself in — light or dark, waxing or waning, literal or metaphorical — live it with eyes and ears wide open to find the ever present beauty inside and outside wherever you go.
- SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines spirituality in The Times' readership area. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you engage your spirit in your life and community.