Surprised by Grace

It was an exhausting week.
We worked on our house, 
we ran errands all over town,
we tried to remember the tons of details 
that come with entertaining three dozen folks, 
about 10 of whom are over 80.
We were celebrating my mom’s 90th 
and we wanted to do it up right – 
and I’d say we were successful.
It was a good party, people enjoyed each other,
we managed to stay warm,
despite the cool fog of early summer 
on the central coast of California.
And mom felt the love.
But Monday dawned and I was done.
Just done.
And still there were things to finish up.
So I headed out mid-morning,
taking some reading along 
for a much-needed lunch stop.
I went to a favorite beachside spot,
a place I’ve used for meetings with friends
and committees many times over these years.
And it was good to be there.
Good food, beautiful view.  DEEP breath.
I took some sweet leisurely time to just enjoy the time
and the spot and the … s-p-a-c-e.
So I sauntered back to my car after enjoying the beachside ambience, and looked up as I unlocked the door.
This is what I saw.
Soaring, swaying brilliant color and grace.
At least three separate kites were soaring from the hillside behind the restaurant.
Effortless flight, exhilarating lightness.
Surprising, serendipitous pictures of beauty,
graceful reminders of this season of Pentecost
which we’ve just begun.
So, I stood by my car, door open,
camera in hand, 
and looked around with
newly focused eyesight. 
 And I saw these sweet sparrows in the bare branches just to the left of the car.
 And these guys getting ready to fly above the birds.
 And this lovely, twisting tree, 
clinging to the cliff just behind me.  
I mean, I’ve probably eaten at this place 30 times – 
and I never saw this tree.
Tell me, what else have I missed in this life of mine?
How many beauties have I been too busy
or too tired,
or too distracted
to glory in?
 So I got in the car and tried to follow the sky people,
the ones brave enough to launch out into the blue.
I tried to find a spot to photograph them more closely,
but realized that this pesky tree was just in the way!
 And then,
I looked again.
And that pesky tree was another piece of glory in my day.
A row of flame trees – glowing, 
vibrating, radiating.
And I switched the focal point of my pictures,
loving the blur of the colorful kites behind the almost 
iridescent red flowers.
 So, I wonder.
What happens when we focus on one thing in this life,
one thing to the exclusion of others.
 In that singular process, I wonder how often is it true that we don’t see what is right in front of our faces?
That beautiful, deliriously inviting thing 
that God is doing just for our benefit;
that gift that’s waiting to be unwrapped and appreciated.
 What if I had fiddled with focus, 
moved around repeatedly to try and find a few more kites, 
or another vantage point,
free of these ‘pesky’ red flowers?
What if I had missed this?
Oh, Lord! May my eyes always be open 
to the beauty that you shower my way, 
the glory that is waiting,
just beyond the periphery of my
oh-so-limited vision, 
the surprising sweet fragrance of grace
that is tucked away in the
corners and crevasses of my everyday,
ordinary, extraordinary life.

Offering these thoughts and pictures to Laura, Laura and because I was too late for Jen at “Finding Heaven’s” Soli Deo Gratia sisterhood, also with Ann for her “Walk with Him Wednesday” series:

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  1. Lovely what happens when allow ourselves to become engrossed in our surroundings! Love the flame tree pics, just amazing!

  2. I’m so sorry if the linky closed early on you! I had it set to 11pm Wednesday night. Arg! Thank you for your sweet comment at Blissfully Domestic. And, I just loved this post. I wonder how much I have missed this week, being swamped in VBS. But tomorrow, it is the last day. So Saturday is for recovery and “seeing.”

  3. Love the flow of your writing & your photos! Stunning!
    A new follower,

  4. You. Always making me see. These photos are so gorgeous, but the takeaway? Even more. Today, I’m changing focus. Love to you.

  5. Oh sweet friends, thank you so much for coming by and for your very kind words. Laura B and Jen – thank you for your kind invitation to contribute each week – I have so enjoyed both sets of contacts!

  6. Diana, I’ve been wondering the same lately… the missing of too much! I know that I’ve focused on one thing and missed something else. This is a lovely reflection.