There’s this tree across the street from my window. Its leaves are fairly small, but their bright colour makes up for their size; they’re a vibrant green. As the season has been slowly shifting, the leaves are slowly starting to change too… there are now golden specks and a plethora of oranges and rubies hidden amongst the still-vibrant summer leaves. That tree has been across the street outside my window for as long as I’ve lived in this house, certainly for as long as my desk has been sat in the window, and yet I’ve never noticed it quite like I did today. The light was hitting it just right and the sky above it was like a beautiful backdrop, such a bright blue and with the clouds moving so quickly.
Looking at the tree, and the clouds, and the way the sunshine was illuminating my room just struck something in me and my fingers flew over my keyboard, desperate to get all these words in me out before I forgot them.
See, I think looking at the tree, and the sky, and the light, reminded me was just how beautiful life truly is. Not beautiful in the big ways though… like the big events or the moments that you can make a big deal out of… no, I’m talking about how life is so beautiful in the small ways.
I’m talking about the things that are so little they almost go unnoticed, like a smile, the way the lights hits, the sound of rain, strangers helping each other, opening a new book, a tasty meal, a family game night.
At the beginning of 2021, I wrote the word ‘LIVE’ in big capital letters at the top of a clean page in my journal. I wanted to make 2021 the year I truly lived- lived like I never had before. I wanted to wake up every day with a new passion for Jesus and I wanted to really, deeply enjoy living every moment of this life He has given me. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been brilliant at living, but I sure am doing better at it than I was at the start of the year. I’ve learnt lots, but I think the main thing I know now is how beautiful life really can be. I think now I better understand how it can be beautiful in the everyday, normal day, bad day, boring day.
Why? Because of Jesus.
Life is beautiful because of Jesus, friend. It is beautiful because it is created. It is beautiful because once upon a time, this earth we’re living on was spoken into existence and filled with intention. It’s beautiful because you… yes, YOU, are in it… because you were knit lovingly together, your every strand a masterpiece, your every fibre filled with intention. It’s beautiful because of our Creator. It’s Him who tells the sun when to rise and it’s Him who wakes us in the morning, filling our lungs with fresh breath. It is beautiful because this day, this very morning- whether it be sunny or rainy or cold or stormy or misty- is the day that the Lord has made, and with that knowledge, we can be glad. We can be glad, we can rejoice and we can see the beauty in this new day!
I don’t know if you have that song or a place that takes you back to that time in your life… you know, that time, when everything was bright, everything was beautiful, everything was glorious. For me, it’s a song, and every time I hear it, the memories come flooding back and I see glimpses of all the times in my life where I’ve been happiest. I see the sun filtering through the window and making the kitchen look golden. I hear Bethany saying, ‘the birds in your garden sounds so cute’ and noticing them like I was hearing them for the first time. I feel the freezing water of the splash pads we played in on the hottest days of that summer. I remember the peaceful walks I took during lockdown. I remember licking popcicles at dusk with all my favourite friends and family on the slope of the lawn in their front yard. I remember nighttime car journeys and being the only one awake in the back seat. I feel the warmth of the sun as it peeks out from behind the grey rain clouds just as we reached the highest point on the hike. I remember family photo days and wearing matching skirts with my sister and cousin. I remember cracking glow bracelets and dancing in the dark like our lives depended on it. I feel the rare breeze tickling my arms as I skipped barefoot through the golf course to the church. I taste the sweet, cold coffee on my tongue… the iced coffee I made to celebrate the first warm day last spring.
These are some of my deepest, happiest memories… the ones I’ll treasure forever. They remind me of the days I celebrated life the most, of the days I soaked up the beauty of being alive. But what I’m understanding now is that these days weren’t the biggest days of my life, they weren’t dramatic or big deals, they were simply sweet, innocent, heavenly days… days when I looked at the little things around me and saw their beauty.
So that is what I want to start doing better. I want to look around me and pick out the beauty of the moment, every single day. I want to celebrate being alive, and I want to celebrate the life that Jesus gives me, because it is such a beautiful, beautiful life.