"When there is little else in life to do but live well, life itself becomes all the more precious, all the more striking in its many layers of beauty," writes Sister Joan in our chapter for today.  She goes on, "The problem may simply be that we take so long to be shocked by the power of normalcy.  We see, but only lately.  We hear the world around us, but only partially.  We sense the symphony of life, but only weakly.  And then, suddenly, when there is nothing between us and the raw, tart, sweet center of life to obscure it, there it is, alive and glowing right before our eyes.  Appreciation comes to us, but too often comes late."

It feels like this has been an underlying theme as we counted our days together through this Lenten season. The challenge of living appreciatively, to live with one's heart and eyes wide open to whatever present one is in, to allow oneself to attend with gratitude to what is and not be pining for what was or anxious about what is yet to be.  "We take so long to be shocked by the power of normalcy."  It is my default to think the present, what is, is too mundane to be treasured. As Woody Allen said, "I don't want to be part of any club that wants me as a member."  The present always admits me which makes it less appealing.  

I walked outside early this morning to get the paper.  The birds were singing.  It was the first time in this Springtime I had noticed them.  It was not exactly a shock...more like a call.  Perhaps that's what I need to appreciate more--the openings that present themselves and catch me like when someone calls my name and I reflexively turn my head to see who's calling.  

Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit around and pick blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh