Overlooked Magnificence

Theme for January: Abundance

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Imagine living in the midst of Yellowstone National Park and almost never going outside to see and study and appreciate the beauties of this awe-inspiring place. How foolish that would be, and how regretful one would feel if, at the age of 79, he looked back on 40+ years close to Yellowstone and realized that he had missed countless chances to explore and discover and appreciate its wonders. 

       That’s sort of the way I’m feeling this morning as I think about my beloved mom and dad. They’ve been gone for 30+ years, and I realize, sadly, that it’s now too late to see and study and appreciate the beauties of their awe-inspiring lives. I knew them for more than 40 years, but I realize, more and more, that I knew only the margins, the borders, of their lives. I rarely took the time to venture into their inner lives to learn about their stories, their histories, their fears and loves and sorrows and triumphs. They were two grand and magnificent people, as splendid and stunning, in their way, as Yellowstone, and yet it’s as if I stayed inside my small personal life for those 40+ years and almost never set forth to get to know my mom and dad. 

       I don’t mean to say I was a ‘bad’ son, or that I never hugged or laughed with or had wonderful experiences with my parents. No – I grew up in a loving and happy family and have wonderful memories of mom and dad. What I don’t have – and what makes me sad this morning – is memories of just sitting quietly with them and getting to know them, in a deep and personal way. I didn’t ask them often enough about their hopes and dreams and fears and sorrows and joys and triumphs. I didn’t ask them for heart-to-heart talks. I didn’t say, “Mom, I’m feeling a little fearful these days. What has made you afraid in your life, and how did you deal with it?” I didn’t say, “Dad, can you tell me about some of the obstacles you have overcome in your life?” My mom’s mother died when mom was only 9, but I never asked her to tell me about how that made her feel, and how she dealt with it, and I never asked dad about his feelings when his mom and dad died. 

              So I am feeling regretful this morning. I lived with or near two magnificent people for more than 40 years, but never truly got to know them. Yellowstone National Park is amazing, but so were my mom and dad, but, sadly, I rarely walked their trails or climbed their summits.  

Fortunately, yesterday and today we did not overlook the magnificence of the rising sun. In fact, we have become students of the sunrise, walking along the Mystic River on countless mornings as light was slowly and beautifully starting to spread again. Here are some photos from the last two days …

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