Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days of Simple, But Beautiful Things Overlooked

 My Simple, But Beautiful Community

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

When I was in college, I had the luxury of being able to focus on more than one thing at a time. For example, I would use a shoe as a wedge to keep my college dorm door slightly open. This way I could hear what was going on in the hallway…in case I wanted to join in. Plus passersby would read the shoe as an invitation. “I’m busy, but feel free to interrupt.”

As a writer and editor often working out of my home, I am now all too easily distracted. 

So, especially when I have an editing job that requires ultimate focus, I have to leave home to get my work done most efficiently. Too many things call to me: the undone laundry, flowers that need pruning, the summer clothes that need to be weeded out and stored for next year. Oh I can come up with lots of projects that I’d love to get done. Thank God for deadlines…

And my local university. I now trek to this lovely little campus at least a couple of days a week to hunker down. (Well not so little…what started out as a two-year teachers’ college in 1908 with 187 students, now has almost 18,500 undergraduate and graduate students!)

The library is perfect. There’s a Starbuck’s on the ground floor. Wraps, paninis, salads, etc., in case I get hungry. And they have lots of those little carrels like the ones I used from time to time back at Boston College, especially during exams (when I really couldn’t be interrupted so much). These are the desks that basically surround you with three walls for maximum focus. They’re the antidote to my wandering mind.

By the same token, coming up to a public place that’s quiet, but has lots of people around helps me not to feel so isolated. There are people everywhere. As I make my way from my car to the library, I see young kids clearly just starting college for the first time. You know that dazed look. Families with college-bound students on tour check out this university as their potential next step on the road of life. Professors, staff members, students of every age, race, and culture. It’s a place teeming with life. Yet I can come up here and almost disappear.

So today as I sit here at my carrel, I am thankful that I live in a community with a university up the street where I can work alone, yet amongst thousands of people who are diverse in every way. It’s a simple, but beautiful thing!

On my little personal journey of looking for the simple, but beautiful things around me and writing about them for 31 days, I’m becoming more aware of the ordinary things in my life that I sometimes take for granted. And it’s quite uplifting.

Take a few moments to think about a simple, but beautiful thing in your life today. Are there things, people, situations around you that you overlook? I’d love to hear!

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