A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
W. H. Davies
A few weeks ago, I was hunting for stones and shells on the beach with my wee girl. Knowing these would have to be brought home, and probably displayed, I was encouraging her to really look for ‘special ones’. She got a fair amount, and then lost interest, but I didn’t. Feeling weak, I sat down on a rock while she ran about. From that sitting place, I spotted a beautiful, tiny white shell. I stood up to go and get it, but from up there, I couldn’t see it. I had to get down again, and then, I found it. It’s now placed on top of a glass vase of beach finds, and every day, I see it and am reminded that sometimes stopping gives you gifts that you’d pass over otherwise. Like having to get down on your knees to help your child get dressed, feeling her throw her arms aound you and meet your eyes as she tells you something important. Or sitting in between my two on a tough, post-injection Wednesday, watching a film. Would I have heard them laugh like that if I’d been rushing around, doing something ‘busy’? I don’t think so.
It takes discipline to stop too. If I looked at the wrong things, like the dust on the shelves, or the dirt on the windows, I wouldn’t let myself be. Just being is a scary thing – facing your deepest anxieties, confronting who you are at that moment. But if we keep on running past ourselves, or the things that are beautiful in our worlds, I think that is, perhaps, a life half-lived.
So okay, my greatest achievement is never going to be running a marathon, or building up a company from scratch, but I definitely can say, I took time to stand and stare. This life is full of care, but it’s also full of precious shells, waiting to be treasured.