Thursday, April 23, 2015

"The First Time," Eyes of Wonder, and Middle-Life Perspective

Yesterday, I spent the entire morning at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for my yearly mammogram.

I am a proud owner of a new toilet seat.
Ugh, I can't believe I am at that point in my life, either.

The radiologist took forever to read the images; I overheard they were having technical problems.  I sat in the waiting room for hours, acutely aware of my boredom.

My stomach was growling and I had exhausted all of the interesting magazines the office had provided.

I had a lot of time to think.

Lately, I have become aware that we are no longer a "young family."

I am (cue the *gasp*) middle aged.

Several recent and upcoming life events support this:

  • Our youngest turns six on Sunday.  My oldest turned 20 earlier this month.
  • I got really excited about the purchase of a new toilet seat at Lowe's.
  • I am getting mammograms (see above). 
  • I started taking a low-dose aspirin every day.  
  • We are proud inheritors of a timeshare (to my utter delight!).
  • Our conversations are often about our yard:  how good it is, how bad it is, and what we can do to improve it.  

Has the newness of life (new baby!  New house!  New car! New job!) worn off?  Is this what causes mid-life crises?

Now, I love to listen to podcasts.   

How is that for a non sequitur? Haha!

I listen to them daily as I am driving or doing housework.  

I enjoy the story telling and the interesting facts I learn from them.   

I love Ira Glass and the old standby of  "This American Life."   But I have branched out with Radiolab, Ted Radio Hour, Love + Radio, The Cracked Podcast, and Invisibilia...just to name a few.  

I was listening to  Andre Gregory on The Moth Podcast this morning as I took my daughter to school.    His talk called "The First Time" really struck me today.   He says, 

 "I think that there is a lesson to 'the first time.' 
We've...all of us... experienced an extraordinary first time in some 'thing' or in many things:  our first creative success, the first time that we've fallen in love...
The first time is an amazing thing and it never happens again.  When it has happened ~ that first time ~ it's never quite the same thing again. 
But the lesson ~which I think is a deep spiritual lesson~ is that in our lives, try to make every single thing we do 'the first time.
Every encounter we have~ the first time.  Every meeting we have~ the first time.   
Every time we see a stop light turn green or turn red, to look at that light with the eyes of a child.   
With the eyes of wonder...and in that way ~ from moment to moment, and from day to day ~ we can all be in a state of ecstasy, fear, wonder and amazement. 
And THAT is what it is to be truly alive."  

I was moved. 

Because as someone who has been married for almost fifteen years, who has lived in the same house for over five years, who executes the daily tasks of life ~ it can become mundane.   It can become boring.  

 Humans don't seem to do "boring" very well.  We lash out or seek thrills elsewhere.

Humans  do stupid things.  Hence the mid-life crisis.

Or if you're like me, you may get excited about goofy things like toilet seats, time shares and St. Augustine grass. 

Yet as Andre Gregory mentioned in his talk, looking at life "with eyes of wonder,"  can make such a big difference in one's every day perspective.  

My mammogram, which was so boring, could be viewed with amazement that such technology exists.  

I am blessed that I was given a clean bill of breast health for another year.

The smell of jasmine that overwhelmed me as I walked outside this morning is a gift from God...and I am so blessed to have these beautiful flowers surrounding me.  

My yard with St. Augustine grass that has too many weeds growing in it...that's MY yard.  I am blessed to have a home, have a yard, have a family to share it with. 

The coffee pot that I was able to switch on this morning and that made me a fresh pot of coffee is a MIRACLE...

My German Shepherd, who in many ways is my very best friend, is cuddled up by my foot sleeping.   She is amazing and beautiful.

I could go on and on.  

I need to walk through my days with eyes of wonder... amazed by miracles all around me.   

The little ones are so easy to miss and/or take for granted.  

And life  is FULL of miracles.  

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