The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
She wraps her tiny fingers around my tea cup. Gingerly. Huffing and puffing. She pulls it toward her. She purses her lips and blows, forming ripples in the green liquid. She breathes in the fragrance.. This she will do over and over til it is just cool enough to drink. This she does every morning. Like she is forming pathways in her brain. A place for hot. For July sun on bare skin, cookies just out of the oven, fire.
I pour the steaming liquid in my mouth. I feel it flow from my throat all the way to my stomach. And I think what a wonder this is. This hot. This enlivening fire in my belly. I thank her for this.
She buries her nose in the rose petals. I can hear her vigorous inhale. She brushes her lips, her cheeks, against them feeling their delicateness on her skin. She pulls a petal free and presses it between her fingers.
And I wonder if I have ever really encountered a rose at all.
We celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ. I hold her in my arms. Her eyes travel up into the dome to Christ, then to the icons along the walls. She cranes her neck to watch the incense rise from the censor. She follows the grand entrance with rapt attention.
At the end of the service, I receive a handful of blessed grapes. I bite one in half to share with her. Her eyes grow big and her delighted smile emits a tiny trickle of juice. She hastily signs “please” for another bite. And another. The grapes are cold and sweet and good. Like morsels of joy.
Atistotle is said to have taught his students while walking with them through the Lyceum. Similarly, my own little peripatetic philosopher teaches me. To move slowly. To drink deeply. To be intensely aware. Always.
This tiny contemplative sees the most ordinary things as extraordinary. And because of her, I see them too.
May I ever remember how to do this.
May we all.
Contemplation is the highest expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. ~Thomas Merton
*In the event you are new to the blog, the aforementioned “she” is my 15 month old granddaughter, Kenzie, who lives in a perpetual state of wonder.
**A challenge: Find something ordinary that is part of your every day. Ask for the grace to see it anew. Consider it slowly. Allow yourself to experience deep gratitude for everyday mercies that often escape our regard.