Night games at camp for at least ten years.
Daytime games at camp that they eventually banned because of the dangerous conditions which always led to injuries…of other people.
Season after season of gymnastics’ four events.
“Rambo runs” in the woods over uneven terrain.
Sledding, waterskiing, snowboarding, biking.
All these things and more I have lived through, and never once have I been injured.
Put me out in my yard this weekend, however, and let me drag a tarp filled with leaves from the oak tree. Let me have children to love to dig holes. Let one of these small holes be dug directly in my path, let the wind cover said hole with the leaves I’m trying to clean up, then let me walk right into this hole.
All of that adds up to this:
When it happened, just before I fell to the ground, I heard the “scritch” of something in my ankle bending a way the good Lord did not intend.
Get a load of this, though. As I lay there on the ground, I had a moment. It was one of those weird “moments in time” when all of a sudden you notice the sound of the wind in the tops of the trees, the sound of the leaves rustling, the number of birds flitting around in the swamp beyond the wire fence. And it made me wonder, how many of us chug along through life and never realize how much of it we’re missing?
I’m not here to point fingers. I’m just as oblivious as the next guy. We walk around with miracles blooming around and in us, and barely register the wonder of it.
Think of the last time you had a terrible head cold. You were miserable, uncomfortable, couldn’t taste, couldn’t swallow, your head aching and your whole body one gigantic exposed nerve. Very soon after you were done feeling awful, you were appreciative of each breath you were able to take through your nostril, the way you could lay on a sheet and not feel every cottony fiber of it scrape against your skin.
If we stop to appreciate every single wonder we encounter in our day, we won’t be able to make it very far in our schedules. There’s definitely a limit for how micro and how macro we are able to focus. As an every day rule, there isn’t time allotted to “stop and smell the roses” of every single rose. In appreciating the warmth and wonder of a candle with its flickering light, we allow dinner to burn, kids to run amuck, bathtub to overflow. Reports will go unfiled, appointments will be missed. We can’t dance that close to the flame for long, or it will consume us.
We can all do a better job of noticing, though. As Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote in one of my most favorite poems of all time, that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.” (This is from his poem, God’s Grandeur.) Sometimes it takes a sprained ankle to slow us down long enough to pay attention.
What things around you do you appreciate today? Even though it’s Monday, there are definitely things to be thankful for. Let’s remind one another by calling them out. Ready set go.