Today’s word: aware
Defined: aware–having knowledge; conscious; cognizant:
She was aware of danger.
What it means to me: My senses are alert. I notice my surroundings. I am not worried about the past or the future. In this moment, I am truly alive and not just going through the motions.
Many years ago, when my children were young, I often struggled to make ends meet. I recall a particular season when I was working, raising my two boys and their little sister, and trying to complete my bachelor’s degree. It seems that I was always at work, at school, busy with housework, or buried in homework. It’s a miracle that my kids even recognized me when I did have a moment to show up and spend time with them.
I don’t know why this particular memory has stuck in my mind, but it just popped up a few days ago. Perhaps for no other reason than to share it with you now.
I had been doing some grocery shopping. I was super careful, making every dime stretch as far as possible. I stepped out of the store, pushing my cart of groceries, into a gray day. It was beginning to rain.
My head was full of a hundred thoughts; the never-ending to-do list, what to make for dinner, will I ever get a real nights sleep?…I remember with a certain clarity that I had a prescription that needed to be filled. My daughter had been fighting off a cold and her prescribed cough medicine had one refill, if needed. In my mind, I was working out whether or not it would be necessary, since I was pretty sure I didn’t have the extra 8 dollars (or whatever) to get it.
I was rolling possible scenarios around in my head and loading the brown paper bags into the back of my 1987 Buick Regal, when I hear someone make a loud WHOOP! sound. By now, the rain was coming down pretty steady. I pulled down the car’s trunk lid and, shielding my face from the rain with my hand, turned to see what the fuss was about.
A couple of teenaged boys, standing about 30 feet from the store’s front entrance were excitedly waving around a piece of paper. “I just found twenty dollars!” a dark-haired boy screamed. The two boys bent their heads to examine the soggy bill. They were laughing and high-fiving each other as they went into the store.
I can not rightly tell you how angry this made me. In my young, overworked state, all I could see was how unfair that was. Those boys couldn’t possibly need that money as badly as I did. I had a sick kid, for heaven’s sake!
Now, as I look back, it makes perfect sense and it’s such a beautiful lesson.
I probably walked right past that twenty-dollar bill. Heck, I may have stepped on it. I was so preoccupied with my problems, that I would have likely tripped over a suitcase full of money, and grumbled about it being there. I was completely unaware of my surroundings, and oblivious to the fact that what I needed was right there in front of me.
How often do I go through my day and miss the life that is happening all around me? How much beauty and opportunity and joy do I miss out on because I’m focused on things that are beyond my control? Am I so busy fretting over a mistake I made yesterday, that I miss the morning? Do I stress about the bill that might show up tomorrow and miss out on today’s sunset?
Takeaway: Awareness is the ability to be mindful of my world right now, in this moment. I have access to everything I need. I just need to open my eyes and look around. Life is too precious, cool, and exciting to miss.
Today’s goal: Today I will open my eyes, let go of worry, and appreciate the life I’ve been given. I will be aware.
Affirmation to go: Psalms 145:5
“I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.”