On Monday the 15th of April I received a message from a friend that the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris was burning. Over the next few hours, I watched the gut wrenching pictures and listened to the reporters many of which had a backdrop of Parisians singing hymns and reciting prayers. Construction began 8n the 1100’s on that massive structure and will have to begin again soon to rebuild it. Whether it was the architecture, religion, history or a hundred other reasons, this is a landmark in time that we should never have forgotten, but so many did. I heard a man say that he walked by it almost everyday and sadly took it for granted.
A few days before that, as I was walking down a hallway in my home that has various pictures of times past, when all of a sudden I just stopped. A voice deep within me whispered for me to stop and pay attention. As I looked to my right, there was a picture of my son and I, posed in a plane along with a ticket stub from the air show where that photo was taken. We had originally given the picture to my mom probably 20 years ago. I hadn’t looked at it, I mean really looked at it for almost as many. One day in the past, I thought these memories were important enough to hang on the wall so I could relive them. Now, apparently things had changed, what a shame!
We all have those reminders in our own homes, pictures, knickknacks, marks we made measuring our kids, etc. and yet day after today, we walk past them God knows how many times without paying them the attention they deserve.
You deserve the memories you’ve created. You deserve to hear the giggles of the children or feel the impact of the emotions again. You also deserve to build upon them, to put it even more clearly, YOU DESERVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE LIFE YOU’VE LIVED TO GET TO TODAY!
Pay attention to those pictures and knickknacks. Pay attention to the “little” words that people sometimes “throw away” in their conversations. Pay attention to life and yes, pay attention to those landmarks in your life whether people, places or things.
Maybe to start, commit to one day of paying attention to life. Smell the air when you go outside, listen to the wind whip through the trees, feel the warmth of the sun as it shines through the window, really taste the tartness of an apple or the sweetness of the jam you spread on your toast and then share your thoughts with friends or family that you care for.
Isn’t this something that we should be doing anyway? Shouldn’t we be AWARE that we are alive? Each and everyday, shouldn’t we be GRATEFUL that we are alive!?! While the answer is clearly yes, it is also something that falls by the wayside with every year we are here on earth.
The thing is, it doesn’t cost us anything and doesn’t take away from the importance of our life or the appreciation of our family. As a matter of fact, it accentuates them!
As for me, I’ve come to have a new appreciation for simply walking down that hallway and feeling those memories that I one day thought were important enough to hang on those walls.
I hope your walk though life will find even more of that appreciation and gratitude. I hope your awareness of life continues to grow because then you will grow with it.