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On our way to our area's Adoration Chapel for my weekly prayer hour, I was awestruck by the most goregous sunrise. It got me thinking about how often we look up. Do we take a moment to look up and admire God's handiwork in the sky each time we go outside? At a VM Retreat several years ago, our presenter, Ray Cook, OMI reminded us to look towards the heavens as often as we can. Savor the sky on that particular moment because you will NEVER see it just like that ever again. I have been trying to get in the habit of looking up, especially at the night sky each evening before I enter my house. I haven't been too successful. On my recent vacation to the Southwest, I had to put a reminder - Night Sky - on my itinerary each day. I think I only succeeded viewing it about half the time. If you are lucky enough to visit the top of the world or travel "Down Under," you would certainly not want to miss the Northern Lights display or the Southern Cross!
What can we learn by looking up? I think there are at least three lessons for us. First, physically looking up helps us appreciate the manifestation of God in our sky - the beauty God offers us. Various cloud formations provide a fun activity, stirring young one's imaginations (and ours) to share what images are seen. Even stormy skies can strike a chord within us of the power of our wonderful God. Watching a hawk coast along on an air current can rouse our deep desire to soar to the heavens in every aspect of our lives. Taking the time to look up at the sky can also help slow us down. We all can use a lot more of that as we navigate our way through this fast-paced world.
Second, looking up reminds us to totally engage emotionally with the person who is in our company. We live in a world filled with distractions. There are so many gadgets with screens that much of our time is spent looking down. We often forget how technology can pull our attention away from each other - even when someone is across the dinner table from us. At meetings, some are challenged to keep their focus on the discussion instead of surreptitiously looking down to text or check emails. Some colleges are re-introducing courses on Communication 101 to teach young adults how to maintain eye contact during conversations (a useful skill when they go out into the world for job interviews). Looking at another person shows respect and is a way to honor their presence.
Third, the posture of "looking up" can reflect an internal or spiritual attitude of optimism. Looking up helps us to view life in a positive light. Sure, there will be many downswings, but are we still able to see the blessings within those times of struggle? It was those challgening periods of my life that taught me the most. I eventually learned how to be strong and confident in my ability to ride them out. Then, when the next wave hit, I could flex my perseverance muscles. Those trying moments of our life can also be the stimulus for great growth. It is the butterfly's struggle to break out of its cocoon that strengthens its wings to be able to fly. If we tried to "help" it by cutting open the cocoon, the butterfly would be facing a life on the ground due to undeveloped wings. "Looking up" interiorly reminds us how far we can soar. Fly like an eagle! God give us the capability to accomplish our dreams, and offers us many moments of grace - if only we will look up and take notice.
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