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Really Living
Photo: Christophe Testi
John Lennon said in one of his songs, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” How true that is! We can become so busy making plans for our lives that we can actually be passing by our lives. It's kind of like going on a vacation and experiencing the whole thing through the lens of the camera. It's great to have snapshots and video to remember the experience, but it's possible to actually miss the full benefit of an adventure by trying so hard to document it for future reference. Thus, we may end up with a magnificent slide show of Niagara Falls only to realize that we didn't get close enough to feel the mist.

Our daily lives can happen the same way. But how can we avoid it? After all, we have to make plans for the future. But maybe we could still work in more time to seize the moment. One way to experience life more fully is to use those wonderful five senses that God gave us. Here are some suggestions:


Have you ever listened to snow? Oh, yeah, you can hear it. Okay, you can't hear the snow itself, but you can hear it falling on objects. I have lived in the Midwest all my life, but it wasn't until last winter that I experienced hearing snow fall. How? I stood in it and listened! Amazing.

Smell some dirt. That's right, get up close and take a deep breath. It actually doesn't smell “dirty” at all. It smells fresh! So, while you're hurriedly planting your garden so that you can get on with making plans for your life, stop a moment and smell the dirt and grass and the air around you. You'll discover quite a variety of scents that you were taking for granted.

See something. Don't just look. Your day is filled with images and scenes before your eyes. But most of them you haven't really seen. If you look at something, you are simply exercising your eyes. If you see something, you are taking it in and pondering it. Thus, the expression, “I see.” So, see the expressions on the faces of your family when they are talking to you. See the variance of color among the flowers in your garden. See the stripes in your toothpaste as you're hurriedly applying it to your toothbrush. By the way, what color is your toothbrush, exactly?

Feel your day. You touch things all day long. But what do they feel like? Your world is filled with different textures, not to mention the feel of your child's cheek or your spouse's hand or your cat's tongue. By the way, if you haven't felt a cat's tongue, I feel sorry for you. Very cool!

Take time to taste. Have you noticed how fast we eat our food? Again, we have to eat fast so we can get on with making our plans! But there are so many tastes worth savoring if we will take the time. So take notice of taste. Even if you have to eat in a hurry, truly taste what you're eating. Next time you eat a fresh slice of garden tomato, savor it and remember that in six months that same food will taste like diluted ketchup.

The more we make an effort to actually embrace the life that is happening right now, the more we will enjoy the life for which we are making plans.

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By Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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