My solo miles were wonderful. The weather was perfect. Lots of friendly hikers were on the same trail. One spot had a nearly 360 degree view. But mostly I walked along, lost in my own thoughts and not paying much attention to anything or anybody else. It was shaping up to be a good day.
When Carrie joined me, the day got even better, and not just because I had welcome company. As we walked, Carrie kept stopping to exclaim over the leaves. She threatened to take pictures. She did pick up a few particularly colorful leaves to bring home.
After a bit, Carrie apologized for slowing us down. But I was thrilled. I had walked past leaves as dramatic as anything we were seeing without ever noticing them. Unlike me, Carrie was noticing them, and I was glad of it. Her enthusiasm was infectious. One of the reasons we had decided to take the hike in the first place was to see leaves, and I could easily have done the entire thing without ever really seeing even one. Simply by pausing to notice the natural beauty, Carrie was giving me a gift, the gift of awareness.
That is something we can all do for each other. One of my favorite lines in our worship service is “Open our eyes to your [God’s] hand at work in the world about us.” Carrie was the answer to that prayer last week. Unfortunately, I will probably never much notice leaves when I walk. But I notice some other things. We all do. And we should share.