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by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 1/22/15

It has been awhile since I had a toddler in my house for any length of time, but this past week I got to spend the afternoon with my two-year-old great nephew, Asher. I was in charge of Asher while his mom attended a baby shower here in Macon. I had eagerly anticipated our afternoon together and was excited about spending time with this sweet, energetic, bright-eyed little boy.
 
Asher had no qualms about being left in my care and was eager to explore the things in my house and yard. I had forgotten what it is like to explore a yard with a two-year-old. Nothing goes unnoticed and there are many treasures to be found if you just pay attention. Asher and I stopped and noticed every bug, every leaf, and every acorn. There were birds to listen to and squirrels to laugh at. Our greatest treasure was the goose feather that we found on the ground in the side yard.
 
My experience with Asher was also a spiritual exercise for me. Right now I am engaged in the reading of Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World. In her writings, Brown is guiding her readers to find the sacred in the ordinary. She suggests that our spiritual life can be enhanced by paying attention to the simple things in life. In the introduction of the book she says, “No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.”
 
What treasure are you standing right on top of? What is right in front of your eyes that you haven’t even noticed? God is calling to us through nature, through the arts, and through our relationships. How does God get your attention?
 
God got my attention through the eyes and ears of a two-year-old, and through that experience I received a glimpse of God’s presence in my world that had gone unnoticed before.