Posts Tagged ‘Reality’

One of yesterday’s posts was about pausing to catch your breath.  Today’s is still on the “breath” theme but a little different.  I want to ask you this question: “When was the last time you saw something so beautiful that it took your breath away?”  It might have been a scene from nature, some form of art, or the person of your dreams standing before you.

For me, it was seeing the picture shown here of my granddaughter Abby taken a few days ago.  It was taken by her maternal grandmother (Mimi) with Mimi’s cell phone and then slightly filtered via Instagram for some of the background coloring.  I can’t stop looking at the photo.  Of course, I’ve already made it my PC wallpaper on both my work and home PCs, and since I have two monitors connected to each PC, I get to see it in duplicate wherever I am.

I know all grandparents rightly believe their grandchildren are the cutest ones on the planet.  That is as it should be.  I am no different.  But you have to admit that this is one gorgeous picture.  And I love it that she’s in her little overalls.  I’ll have to wear mine, too, sometime so we can get our down-on-the-farm look on simultaneously.

As breathtaking as this photo is to me, it is no substitute for holding the real Abby in my arms.  Pictures can be engraved into your mind’s eye as memories for a lifetime, but being in the presence of the subject of the picture is preferred because that is real and present tense.  I love photos I’ve taken of the Grand Tetons, the Arctic Circle, Yosemite, Yellowstone, England, China, oceans, as well as at home and countless other places.  But photos are an image of the real thing and not to be regarded as highly as being with the subject itself.

So as I stare at this photo (as I know I will for a long while to come), I know that even in its beauty it does not compare to the real-life smiles, kisses and hugs of being with Abby.

Leap year lesson #149 is Never confuse an image with the real thing.

Have you ever anticipated something so much for so long that, when it finally came to pass, you were a bit disappointed? It can be quite a letdown. On the other hand, it is exhilarating when all of that expectation is met or surpassed by what finally transpires.

For the last few days I have been getting more and more excited about my coming periodic, personal, silent, spiritual retreat at The Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky. I go there for a week once or twice a year as a time to get away, to unplug from technology, sleep when my body says to sleep, eat healthy meals, read my Bible, pray, work on reviewing the 100 Bible verses I keep memorized, take walks in the woods, do a little writing, and capture a few insights and goals for the future.

Some think I’m quite odd for doing such a thing. When I tell them that no talking is allowed in the guest house, dining room and throughout most of the areas inside and out where you’ll find other people, and that there is no television or telephone or Internet access, and that the cell phone reception is so bad you might not have any connectivity, others say “That would drive me crazy.” But for this introvert who loves time alone, it is bliss.

When I consider other things I have anticipated in years past – especially material things – the reality of fulfilled expectations is at best temporary. The joy can diminish quickly.  For example, the fun of getting that new electronic gadget, the thrill of that win by your favorite sports team, even the change in a relationship or the satisfaction of that new job – all can be short-lived.

When you find, however, a reality that meets or exceeds your expectations every time, you have found something special. One of those experiences for me is my time at Gethsemani. I look forward to next Monday-Friday with great anticipation – partly because of what is known, but also because I discover there what was previously unknown.

I hope you have such a place where your expectations are met or exceeded.

Leap year lesson #83 is Reality can exceed expectations.