I recently drove to a professional symposium from my home in western Washington state to an area called Tri-cities in central Washington. In order to do this, I had to drive four hours across some of the most beautiful country you have ever seen. Thank God for books on tape-or rather-books on iPod!
The drive called for a journey from the Seattle area where the hills meet Puget Sound to crossing the majesty of the Cascade range. There, lovely mountain vistas abound with high altitude lakes and their soft caresses of low-hanging mists. Once past the mountain passes, the topography changes. Soft rolling hills appear, looking as if God Himself had chiseled their forms and then pulled soft green felt tightly around them. Fertile valleys below swell with vineyards and fruit orchards in their sunshine. The drive was seriously zen, and I was grateful for each mile along my way.
When I had finally reached my hotel's registration desk in the town of Kennewick, I was told that I had been upgraded to the executive suite. SWEET! Although my travels ended when I stepped out of my car, the beauty of the day persisted. Even then, when I opened the door to my room, this is what greeted me:
There were flowers, a plate of HUGE chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of wine, and a hand-written personal note from the hotel. Wow, I was totally blown away! Not only had Beauty persisted, but it took residence right there in my room.
The one thing that worried me the most about my trip was chairing the upcoming board meeting for the first time as state president. I didn't feel prepared, and I dreaded appearing stupid. And wouldn't you know, it was all for nothing. The board and general membership put me at ease as they always do, and helped me every inch along the way. This is the beauty in ordinary things to me. They were my plate of chocolate-covered strawberries.
I know that I've mentioned this previously, but I live with a couple of very annoying chronic autoimmune conditions. Against my will, pain has become a constant companion. However, the discomfort I live with is a very sage teacher in her own right. Where others are bored with the dull repetition of life, I am grateful for every "normal" moment I have when I'm not in pain. To me, this is a huge gift. As a result, I believe I see more beauty in a day than most do in a week. What our culture - or heck, the world - considers beautiful is completely laughable to me in many cases.
As a medical technologist, I see beauty at the "organismic" level. When I peer into the microscope I see the beauty in nature, such as the uniformity of normal red blood cells,
the alternating barrel pattern in a fungal arthrospore,
the military-straight lineup of a columnar epithelial cell layer in the bladder,
the beautiful array of onion cells appearing as fenestrations in a layer of its skin,
or in nature at large, the flawless symmetry of a nautilus in cross-section.
These are prime examples of the beauty in ordinary things to me. All of them keep me from taking life for granted, and I give thanks for them.
I hope that you will always see the unsung beauty in life, and also give thanks for it. Thank you for sharing my journey.