I trudged along, not hurrying but not strolling, to catch my subway home. The murmured sounds of voices in a hundred different languages, shuffling feet and rumbling trains swirled about me. I was tired. I was cold. I just wanted to get home.
My own little world of thought was interrupted by the garbled announcement coming over the loudspeaker. The train was running at irregular intervals, said the voice. The voice apologized for the inconvenience and disappeared.
Ugh! I just wanna go home!!, I screamed in my head.
I let out a frustrated sigh as my head sunk back and my eyes floated to the ceiling. The most beautiful shades of blue, somewhat reminiscent of Van Gogh's A Starry Night, found my eyes. It's beauty literally took my breath away.
I found myself staring at a stunning mosaic depicting - I would learn later - the creation of the world. All four walls bore beautiful mosaic works of art depicting various nature scenes or historically significant occurrences.
I had been through this subway station every.single.day. - at least twice a day - for the past two months and I had never, ever seen these stunning works of art before. I had had no idea they were even there. I had never looked up.
In my daily grind of coming and going, I had been so focused on getting to my destination or checking off the next thing on my list I had never taken the time to look up.
What struck me the most, however, was the fact that when I only had my head down, ploughing through my day just trying to make it to the end point, everything was drab. Gray. A million different shades of ugly, dirty gray was all I could see. It weighed heavy on my shoulders like a lead cloak. I saw feet. I saw trash. Rubbish. Grime. Gunk. Disgusting nastiness was all I could see.
Is that how you feel about your daily routines right now? Are you bogged down with the dull, mundane, dirty-mucky-grayness of laundry and diapers and grocery shopping and playgroup and making dinner and doing the dishes and more diapers and...?
Sometimes we get so bogged down in all that is on our shoulders to carry to keep a household running smoothly, to invest in our families, to just keep things going that we forget to stop and look up; to see the beauty that surrounds us at every turn.
We hit the ground running, coffee in hand, and run, run, run to the next thing. By dinner time we are just trying to survive until bedtime so we can just breathe for half a second. We're tired. We're weary. We're burned out and we're worn.
I walked through that subway station everyday, multiple times a day, without even a clue what incredible beauty hung right overhead. When I did finally see it, it was like that moment you break through the surface of the water when your lungs are about to burst, and gasp a full breath of fresh air. It makes me wonder what other breathtaking glory I have missed?
When we just put our heads down and plough through the day, we may get a lot accomplished, but how many blessings of beauty and grace do we miss?
The bottom half of that subway station is ugly. The art at the top is beautiful. But you know what? The view when I stepped back and looked at the entire picture was infinitely more stunning.
The gray mundane makes the beauty shine out the brighter.
Moms, we need to slow down, and take time to stop, look up and breathe.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
Read a verse that inspires or encourages you. Whisper a prayer of gratitude, or asking for help, or a word of praise. When you are in the trenches of the daily grind and your proverbial back aches from the strain - look up! Look to Him! That's where your help comes from! Notice the beauty surrounding you. Your children's smiles. Your husband's laugh. The sun streaming in the window casting a warm glow around your dining room. Dimpled fingers around chunky crayons.
Ok, so you have to run to the grocery store, and then the dry cleaners, and then drop the big guys at football and the little ones at swim lessons. But don't forget to stop once and awhile to look up.