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Pay attention to the things that take you out of and beyond your everyday living. They are a jolt to the system, perhaps a moment of awe. They are a meteor arcing across the midnight sky of your life. We need these jolting moments of awe, of fear and trembling, of being pushed past comfort zones and being challenged to think, live, or act differently. There are many things, both typical and peculiar, that can offer us new eyes and a new heart. 

Travel. Just last weekend, I found myself in Washington, D.C. It was a work trip; a retreat with college and university students that had two intentions: to allow them to bond, and to challenge them to grow beyond themselves. Most certainly, it did the same for me. Travel of any kind tends to operate as a broadening, cultivating experience. My husband is headed  to Iowa this weekend, a place where he has lived and learned and grown before, but I know this trip will be a further jolt to his system. Travel, even return trips to already known places, generally shocks the system. We might travel for work or vacation, to play or to pray, for leisure or learning, to greet a new grandchild or to gather in grief. I have seen travel of every kind wake us up to something different from our ordinary, everyday living. 

Voting. This was election week, and whoa, if that isn’t a long, bright star streaking across the night sky. Even with sign-plastered neighborhoods and media build-up, even with all of the learning, the praying, the jaw-clenching, and grinning that gives us a long lead-up, election day pulls us into a new headspace, a unique zone, a mindset and a sensation outside of our norm, and it can be both eager expectation and ominous foreboding. 

Telescopes. And, here’s a good one:  Earlier this week, my husband issued this directive from the living room, “Katy, tell Reuben and his buddies it is time to be done out there.” Not sure what he meant, I was tickled to find them out in the night-chilled driveway, sweatshirts tightened around their faces like covered wagons on the prairie, all huddled around a telescope pointed at the moon. My son was proud to tell us later that he was pretty sure the red thing they saw on the moon was the flag planted up there. Oh, yes, this telescope is getting my boy out of his ordinary. Loving Stranger Things, and telescopes, my son has his head in the clouds, and the heavens. Way beyond his ordinary.

Books. Truth be told, reading a good book almost always allows me the miracle of being whisked out of and away from my everyday living. I love reading primarily for this reason: the seeing and learning of new people, places, feelings, and ideas. I’m currently immersed in Pachinko, and its Korean family grinding through life in mid-1900s Japan. There is much devastation and heartbreak, their lives described most accurately as grueling. Yet, I need to go dwell in this place, with these people, all the way until the end of the story because as I leave my regular life to be there, I find myself jolted into new understanding and even changed in my own here and now. Books do this to me all the time.

I both love and believe in the goodness of ordinary, everyday life, and if I advocate for anything, it is probably being slow and steady. I know deeply that we are largely called to a simple, everyday heartbeat-pace of living. Whether we spend our days quick-stepping it to catch The Metro, or walking our dogs through leave-engulfed suburban neighborhood sidewalks, we have- all of us- a normalcy to our lives. Maybe our high heels click along the hallways of a business on the top floor, or we wear a thick sweater into a drafty corner classroom, or we get grease under our nails attending to someone else’s machines. But, we’ve got a rhythm- one that we know- whether we love it, or struggle with it, or have gotten so bored with it that we forget to notice it. 

Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Lub-dub goes the heartbeat of our lives as we live out a daily pace in the world. God designed our lives for faithful, steady, rhythmic living, but even the created order blasts a bright meteor across a dark sky at times, taking our breath away, making our heart race. Pay attention to these beautiful, striking moments and all their sparkling, prompting challenge. Rise out of your rut, feel your rhythm anew and be glad. Maybe even dance to it.  

Travel photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Voting photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Telescopes photo by Tiago Fioreze on Unsplash

Books photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Header photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Katy Sundararajan

Katy enjoys writing here at the Reformed Journal about the small things that give us pause and point us to great wonder, the things that make our hearts glad and remind us of where our hope comes from. You can find more of Katy’s writing through Words of Hope free daily devotionals, and in Guideposts’ All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers. Give Katy a good book, a pretty view, or a meal around the table with laughing people and she’ll say, “All is well.”

2 Comments

  • Jan Hoffman says:

    Thanks, Katy! We got up early to watch the lunar eclipse, will see a rocket launch this morning, walked through Hurricane Nicole with the dog. A joy to get outside, look up and experience “breathtaking.” Thanks for including Tuesday’s election.

  • Katy Sundararajan says:

    Ah, Jan! Thank you so much for this comment. In fact, with your “breathtaking” comment, I am stopped short. You should have written the blog! Be well…

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