A Shift in Perspective: Finding God in the Common

“The universe is wider than our views of it. […] What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same [stars] at the same moment!” – Henry David Thoreau

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I love this picture. And no, it has nothing to do with the dancing Russian girl behind me, but I will say, it doesn’t hurt.

There are so many things that I love about this moment. I love that the last night of my Camino was captured. I love that all of my “Camino family” had left and this group of pilgrims welcomed me for the night. I love that the person who took the picture was a complete stranger, and eight months later has become one of my closest friends. I love that I have no idea who the man is beside me, or what we were looking at, but for one brief moment we were brought together to celebrate the end of a journey. But mostly, I love how much it reflects the beauty in Creation.

That night I witnessed the most beautiful night sky I have ever seen. Stars on stars on stars on stars. I’m talking stop me in my tracks, bring me to my knees in awe kind of beauty. What an artist our Creator is! But then I wonder, Kat, why the heck did it take such a spectacular moment for you to have this sort of experience? Get it together woman!

*sigh*

Now that I’m home I often find myself looking up at the stars through the forward hatch when I lay in bed, thinking about that night and about how many of us are looking up at that same sky. It’s the exact night sky that I had seen, and it has been there the entire time. Yet somehow, with the world muting its brightness, I now allow myself to see it as “common.” (Gee, thanks light pollution…)

It’s such a reflection of the idea that the things of this world can so easily hide the face of Christ. Whether that be physically, like my inability to see the night sky as clearly, or in our spiritual lives, when I allow busyness and worldly demands to cloud my vision of the Creator.

What I often fail to see, though, is how “common” can be insanely beautiful! It seems so foolish to seek God only in the strange and spectacular, but we’ve all been guilty of this. I mean let’s be real, it’s much easier to see Him in a beautiful sunset than it is in the neighbor who gets mad at you for leaving your trash can at the end of the driveway for an hour longer than usual. (My driveway is the ocean, but I’m assuming this happens to some people.)

The thing is, God didn’t present Himself to us in an extraordinary way! When He became man, He chose a quiet, unknown woman for His mother. His birthplace was not a palace, but a cave. During His life, He walked and talked with ordinary people. He chose fishermen as His companions. He did not dine with Herod, but in the homes of common people. He was crucified between two common thieves. He can be found where we least expect to find Him — in common things.

Unfortunately, life isn’t always beautiful night skies and sips of red wine on the coast of Spain. Life is messy and sometimes I allow my sights to be set on things that don’t matter, and fail to see the beauty in the small things that do.

Instead of simply thanking God for giving me a glimpse of His heart that night, I long for more and continuously ask why He is not showing it to me all the time. Newsflash: He is. Silly little me just doesn’t always chose to acknowledge it. But I’m me, and I’ll continue to be hit over the head with His love and then ask where He is. That’s what I do. I’m a messy child that He is loving hard, and if it takes an army for me to see His beauty, I know He’ll send it. He did that night.

So when I said at the beginning of this post that I loved the photo so much because it reflected the beauty in Creation, yes I was referring to the amazing sunset in the background. Looking back, though, I was also referring to the beauty in each and every person that I encountered on that journey; in each and every painful step that reminded me of my humanity; in each and every “common” occurrence where I was, and still am, learning to acknowledge the glimpses of heaven.

(Oh shoot, so I guess it was a good photo because of the dancing Russian girl…)

Well in that case, I guess I need to dance like the Russian girl as I rejoice in the wonderful gift of beauty, and the many places I am learning to see it. Thanks to each of you for being that example of beauty. I hope I can be the same for you.

Much love and adventure,

Kat

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