The music floats on the crisp evening air as the notes collide sharply against the cold. The crowd ebbs and flows out of the stadium under a state highway, to the light rail station on the other side. As each individual steps under the highway overpass, the music from a homeless man engulfs them. It echoes and reverberates, as the concrete reflects the sound moving from ear to ear. The people move methodically through the sweet zone. Listening unmerited to the music of a master, people herd nervously past the open case waiting for clinks of change.  A mother instinctively grabs her daughter moving her away from beauty. A protective gesture?…Moving into the night, the girl longs to linger and listen.

In a world that encourages, preaches, and insists that you set goals and plan to accomplish them, there is no room for listening. In a society that preaches, walk with a purpose, always have a plan. In a world where employers insist on activity resulting in most employees finding ways to “look” busy.  Could the childish desire to linger, be the small impulse that reveals God?  Could the purposeful act of listening or the desire to stand in awe of beauty lead to moments of intimate awareness and awaken my senses to the presence of God?

Awakening to the Spirit of God lies in my awareness of the environment in which I live. I must first slow down enough to notice the music being played or the colors in the sunset. I need to pause and allow the Spirit to speak through the small inaudible voice that leads me towards inspiration, towards God. Becoming aware of the presence of God,  my focus is honed with thankfulness for everyday tasks like the warmth of the water as dishes are rinsed, the coolness of tile on tired feet, or the color of my dining room wall. This awareness is not merely the art of observation, although observation is a part of awareness. The mother in the short vignette observed the case waiting for change and heard the music being played, she then perceived the situation as a threat, or she was just in a hurry and merely needed to get home. The way I perceive a situation is crucial. If I view a situation through the lens of thankfulness, I am more receptive to the prompting of God. How am I interacting with my environment and how am I effected by my surroundings? Am I operating in a spirit of thankfulness?

Awareness marked by the realization of God’s presence is beauty. This realization inspires, connects and reflects beauty. Connecting to community, I must allow myself to be part of something larger and integrate. How do I interact in God’s arena?  Beauty seems to be the calling card that pulls, tugs, and draws me into the knowledge of God and his presence.  It can in an instant overtake my senses.  Beauty defines moments that thrill beyond measure… a sunset, a flock of birds, a tree, the frost on a window. The moments when I know what I wrote works and works well. When the picture I painted is spot on or the song I played was magnificent.  It is the concentrated focus of a camera lens that hones in on one subject at the exclusion of other distractions. Beauty happens when external events are influenced by the inner force that expresses beauty. The moment when God is exalted and praise erupts from my inner being and for a moment or two, I am one with my creator.  Imagine the joy of accessing that power on a regular basis.


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