I have a friend who likes to hike and backpack. He always takes beautiful pictures of the places that he visits. After one trip he was telling me about a camp high in the California Sierras while showing me a photo of a stunning sunset. He told me about the night that he returned to camp after walking to the top of the mountain.
“When I got down, I found that everyone else had packed up and left camp. I was alone at twelve thousand feet. The silence was so thick I could almost touch it. You should have seen the sunset that night. It was even better than this picture.”
“Why didn’t you take a picture if the sunset was even more beautiful?” I asked.
“I figured that no one else cared to see the world from that viewpoint that night but me, so I just kept the sunset all to myself,” he explained. “If you weren’t there, you just missed out.”
This summer I watched the sun set over a lake in a corner of New Mexico, then I spent the night under the stars in a sleeping bag. The stars were so clear, so close, so brilliant I felt like I could touch them. And no, I didn’t take a picture. If you weren’t there, you just missed out.
You can read a meditation book, make a list, and even talk to people who live their lives fully, but unless you make the trip yourself, you won’t see all this life has to offer.
Is there a picture that you’ve been too busy to see lately? Break out of the ordinary. See something new or see the ordinary in a new way. Don’t just glance. Really look. Then bring back the picture in your heart. Unless you’re there, you’re just missing out. Some things you just need to see for yourself.
God, help me live my life to the fullest. Help me see and treasure all the beauty in the world.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
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