“You do something tragic when you close yourself up and prevent your soul from shining through. Let me see you!”  ~ from God Whispers on the Wind

When I look around and do not see gratitude and beauty, I look around with serious question. Wonder. 

I wonder — wondering, as I always do, in the pursuit of connection — names, faces, stories, wrinkles, behaviors, decisions, motives and origins. I wonder why we are here. I wonder what other people see when they look out into the world.

I wonder why I am me.

I wonder why I am, at all.

I wonder and I can’t help but ask why.

My mind inquires.

…It tires.

Then there’s the other side.

The gratitude. The beauty-seer. I was at the park this morning and I drove to an isolated bench–most were isolated, but I found a quiet spot a really enjoy. I’ve sat there times before.

At this bench a green plain pours out into a window of trees on both left and right, setting a stage of shrubs low and between them, where the sun rises. In the summertime, the sun scoops up high on this stage and over it in a tall arc. This morning, the sun was quite high and warm, though the young day was dry and fairly cool.

A few minutes earlier, I stopped by a coffee shop for an iced “toffee” coffee, medium with skim milk and two Splenda sweeteners, and a blueberry-apple muffin. Bran. Grainy, crisp and delicious, that muffin.

In that coffee house, I was greeted by the warmest, friendliest face I’ve encountered in some time. The woman was its owner, and though my discriminating mind had made judgments on her before, this interaction–our sole interaction–filled my heart with such happiness that my mind stopped from thinking.

I just was. She was. We were.

The coffee house was as full as my compostable plastic cup. As full as the muffin was whole, sitting in wait and ready to nourish. But there was no thinking, really. No question. No wonder. Just gratitude and beauty.

What are these two forces?

Are they really separate and distinct?

Do they conflict, as I often suggest with my words?

The head and heart, the mind and love, thought and presence, logic and intuition.

Is this the way the brain is cut down the middle?

Is my soul not one, but two?

Maybe these forces are yin and yang, two sides to the same coin; that one could not live without the other.

A fidgety old man with a scowl sits across from me on the train, now. His wife is monotone, she speaks in one drab pitch but her eyes are scouring, always moving. Diagonal from me, another older man with white hair and blue eyes, though not as elderly as this couple here, makes nice conversation with a young lady he sits across from. He is pleasant, I can feel the love in his eyes–though he is worried about something. Maybe he is just a skeptical lover; this world’s made him a bit of a cynic.

He reminds me of my friend, Jimmy. Jimmy is in a dusted wasteland ten-thousand miles away.

This man is not Jimmy.

But the slant of his eyes, his smile, the light in his speech, is Jimmy.

My muses, are you listening yet?

I know you tease and taunt over my shoulders throughout the hours. It’s why my back and shoulders feel so heavy, so weary after those long days. I carry you there as I might a sack of ten-thousand stones. Others see that bag and question why I self-inflict its torture. They see its contents, they call it worthless.

To me those stones are worth more than diamonds, for they build my house. You build my temple.

It’s where I live. In refuge. In gratitude. In beauty.

P.S. – Remember, my new book, God Whispers on the Wind, is now on sale on Amazon.com for just $2.99. Last week, the launch promotion I hosted helped put the book into the hands of more than 300 readers. I deeply appreciate you and all of your support!