I didn’t always have a room with a view. I grew up in suburbia, my window looking out at a neighbor’s house.
I didn’t always have a room with a view.
I grew up in suburbia, my window looking out at a neighbor’s house.
Fresh from college, I lived in a garden-level apartment that left me eye-level with squirrels.
As a newlywed living in Ogle County, my bedroom window had a glorious view of the Byron nuclear plant.
And so I was amazed with the view when we moved to Jo Daviess County six years ago. It’s almost breathtaking, the scene outside my bedroom window: rolling, green hills and perfect lines of farmland that stretch for miles.
I woke up on my first morning in that house and saw the sun glowing over the fields. I promised myself in that moment that I would never take for granted the beauty outside my window.
And yet, I do.
There are days the blinds never get opened as I rush out the door in the morning. There are times when rainy weather ruins my plans, so I look outside with a scowl.
And then there’s the fact that, as our family has grown, the view inside the house has grown considerably more beautiful.
A friend has a stunning view from her kitchen window, a panoramic scene of the Mississippi River and the rolling hills leading down to meet it. Yet she, too, is guilty of being so focused on getting dinner to the table that she doesn’t stop to soak in the beauty.
Years ago, I attended a meeting in a high-rise in Phoenix. The office looked out over a gorgeous sun setting over the mountains.
“This view is amazing,” I said as we sat down.
“Yes, I suppose,” came the response. “I’ve lived here my whole life.”
Sadly, that’s how too many of us go through life, regardless of whether our view is of the Grand Canyon or of the back of a convenience store. The stunning becomes ordinary and the task at hand too important to warrant a glance up.
I can’t believe we were meant to live life that way. I refuse to accept that we live in such a beautiful world but it’s perfectly okay to ignore it.
And it’s not just the scenery that we tend to miss. Rather, it’s just the beginning when we don’t notice the beautiful flowers in our garden. Then it bleeds over into other parts of our lives.
Suddenly, we don’t hear the cute things our children say because we’re too busy shushing them. We overlook the many small things our spouse does for us each day, because we’re still upset over something that was said last week.
We see a bargain at a garage sale and immediately think there must be a better price. We watch co-workers who leave early for their kid’s baseball game and resent the fact that we’re still at the office.
It’s so natural, in the busy times, to see the ugly of this world.
It takes stronger character to look for the beautiful, to make in-the-moment choices that people are more important than tasks.
Still, life is so much more rewarding when we pause at the window. Flowers only bloom once. Children learn to use their “inside voices” more quickly than it seems.
Today? It will only be here once. There’s always another time to fold the laundry or to balance the checkbook. But there’s only one chance to soak in the moment.
And that’s now.
Elizabeth Davies can be reached at email@example.com.