We are blessed to live in a country full of opportunity and potential. The very fact that so many immigrants want to come here is telling. America is a place where it is possible to have it all. In fact, we Americans have so many choices that we've grown used to variety. We've seen it all before; there isn't much to surprise us anymore. So we tend to become jaded and bored. Something is missing in our lives, but we can't put a finger on it. Each of us had the missing piece once, but somewhere along the way, we lost it. And we didn't notice the loss, because it happened gradually.
When we were children, we saw everything with fresh eyes. Everything about life was new to us and life was an adventure. We were curious and we noticed little things, the very things we adults often take for granted now. We had a sense of wonder and appreciation. It really didn't take much to make us happy, because we didn't have high expectations.
Then we grew up. Some of us got a job, some started a family, some bought a new house. Regardless of the direction our lives took, we all encountered responsibility of some kind. Stress often accompanies responsibility. Our time slips away from us, with increasing demands on it. We find that we are always busy doing something. We are so busy trying to get somewhere that we fail to enjoy the journey. We forget to treat each new day as something special, full of possibility and hope, rather than something inevitable and boring.
Too often, we greet a new morning with indifference. Similar to the way we so casually discard wrapping paper from a gift, we encounter each day as something to be expected, but not necessarily appreciated. We tend to think of all the day's obligations rather than taking time to enjoy what we already have. We must work and take care of our families and try to fit a dozen other things into our day. Who has time to enjoy the ride? Yet, in the words of a recent commercial I saw, “if you hurry through life, you just get to the end faster.” Who wants to get to the end faster?
As we hurry through life, who knows what we miss, with our attention occupied by work or worry – or by our cell phone, TV, computer, etc.? We fail to notice small but special moments that increase our appreciation for life. When was the last time you saw a striking sunset, waves crashing on the beach, or even an ant trying to transport a juicy morsel of food comically bigger than itself?
We also lose sight of the big picture and fail to notice those who might need our help, our time, or our love: somewhere out there is a child being bullied, or a lonely senior living by herself, or a hurting loved one. Who knows what we might find if we only took the time to look? Life is a gift more interesting and valuable than we realize.