look.

How often do you stop and look. I mean stop and really look.

A few weeks ago I was in one of my favorite places, the Mission San Juan Capistrano. I was sitting on one of my favorite benches. As I was praying, journaling and resting in solitude I looked at the brick wall behind me.

Then I looked around.
Then I looked back at the brick wall.

Then I really looked.
I soaked in the detail.

Years ago I read Henri Nouwen’s book Return of the Prodigal Son where he spends hours in front of Rembrandt’s painting. Nouwen chose not to pass the painting by taking a look, rather he chose to truly look at the painting. His insights are profound and he finds new depth and spiritual meaning in the parable because of his choice to look.

The more I looked, the more I noticed.
It wasn’t just a wall, it wasn’t just some bricks and mortar and stucco falling off in places.
I began to see.
A brick.
Hand formed Adobe clay.
Small pieces of straw embedded long before I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye.
A moment captured in a brick.

At the risk of being esoteric…that brick reminded me of my tendency to cruise through life toward a destination rather than slowing to a pace where I can taste, touch and see the journey.

What do you see?
Do you see a worn out wall worth passing by?
Or do you look.
Do you truly look or are you too busy with passing glances to truly see.
I want to look.
To look at my surroundings.
I dare not glance past and see only worn out walls…

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