Thursday, December 1, 2011

Browsing blessings

In my kitchen, there is a painting framed by gold and brown painted wood.  The scene depicts an Old World city, whose smooth-stone streets overflow with foot traffic: peasants browsing bread and fish and grapes on umbrella-covered vending carts, men with hands shoved deep in pockets and conversing by a moss-kissed wall, unnamed faces meandering under bridges that connect the upper stories of houses to a roadway on the hill above.  On rooftops, birds roost and green fruit trees seem to sway in an unpainted breeze.  From windows, white clothes catch the sun's rays as they filter through thick clouds. 

It's not a grandiose locale that exudes a promise of freedom from the routine of life.  Instead, it captures a reflection on the close or beginning of the day filled with even the mundane, like sweeping dust from the foyer or preparing meals or procuring even the smallest scrap for a living. 

The painting challenges me to watch for those little blessings that I overlook: the volley of hugs and kisses from my plump almost-two-year-old as he weights me to the chair, sweet smiles from my Joey and that heart-mellowing "I love you, Mommy," twinkling eyes from my spouse when I'm in his sight, an invitation to spend time with a good friend, a love letter lingering near my morning tea mug, even a brief moment enjoying an endearing interest (who doesn't melt at transcribing Greek papyri or throwing balls of clay on a pottery wheel?), or ... 

I know, friend, there are many blessings you could add to the list.  Part the curtains that hang with burdens and view the day with different eyes - eyes transfixed on those moments when joy could have broken your face into a smile.  Perhaps if you and I choose to reflect on blessings more than burdens, our joy might impact the world.

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