Beauty Around Us

Do you ever get the feeling we spend too much of life ignoring the beauty around us?


Today I’m attending a training.  I’m in Central Phoenix, a place I rarely attend and certainly wouldn’t call beautiful on normal days.  This is a place where your GPS will calculate that you still have 10 minutes remaining on your journey even though it also tells you that you are 1 mile away.  A place so full of people and cars it literally smells like exhaust when you take a deep breath.  Yet today I am on the sixteenth floor of a building with a full wall of windows.  The table I have chosen is facing one of those windows and I’m completely distracted by the view.  I’m fully appreciating the teacher in middle school who insisted I learn to type without looking at the keys so I can share this thought with you whilst enjoying the scenery.


This is not my picture or my exact view.  But it’s close!

What I can’t figure out is why I’m the only one who’s noticed.  There are (hold on while I pause to look around) about 20 people in here right now.  Two of them are the trainers, so I can assume they see this view often.  But the rest?  The rest are presumably teachers, like me, who spend entirely too much time sitting inside the walls of a school with only small windows to the outside world.  How are they not appreciating the small grassy area loaded with trees just to the left of all this craziness?  The mountains at the edge of the valley, with the white clouds just kissing the tops?  The planes taking off and landing just along the horizon, so small they look fake?  The twinkling of the rising sun over the steel that litters our capital city, looking like tiny twinkling lights on a tree?  Even the building directly next to us…the one so close I can almost see the people inside there also not enjoying the view…that building has patios wrapping around it on every single floor and has gorgeous pink flowered potting plants and adorable tables all around.


As we draw closer to the training start time, people are starting to notice.  But it’s not for the reason I would like.  Instead of basking in the beauty that is the landscape, they’re complaining about the sun coming into their eyes.  One woman saunters to the windows and twists the blinds closed.  I watch as the trainer approaches her and proceeds to help her completely block of the view.


I’m left wondering, what was the purpose of the windows?  We have effectively made it the same environment here as we would experience in our own classrooms with minimal access to the outside world.


I’m not blaming anyone, or judging anyone.  In fact, I probably focused better once they were closed and I stopped watching the scenery.  Instead, I’m merely asking…do we miss the beauty of the world around us?




My 11 year old son loves hockey.  

He lives and breathes hockey.  He watches it, talks about it, and plays it.  He studies it, dreams about it, and quotes statistics.  If you can relate it to hockey, he gets it.

He’s actually been ice skating in leagues or formal skating lessons since he was three.  He’s been ice skating since 2.  He’s been playing hockey since he could walk.  

In May of 2016, he did something he had never had to do before.  He had official tryouts, where he may not make the team, for a travel hockey league.  In preparation for the tryout, we signed him up for the defensive clinic with the coach and other players so they learned who he was.  We paid the fee.

He didn’t make it.

Actually he made the “alternate” list.  

“What is that?” he asked.

“If someone else doesn’t want their spot, they give it to you.”

“They wouldn’t have tried out if they didn’t want the spot.”

“That’s a good point.”

I cried with him.  I cried for him.  Then I talked to him about resilience.  It was a message he received in ways that amazed me.  He returned to the final day of the clinic with the same kids who had made the team and the coaches who didn’t choose him.  He decided to play on the house league again, and make the best of that time.  In fact, his team won the championship this time around.  When tryouts were advertised for the All-Star team, one he actually played on last year before you had to try out, he asked to participate.  

We paid the money.

I saw the hesitation the second he took the ice.  There were 22 kids out there skating.  You could almost see the moment he realized that meant some kids wouldn’t make it.  His first pass along the ice wasn’t his fastest, he was hesitating.  But then he must have shaken it off.  The kid continues to impress me with his ability to keep going.

I wish I could tell you this is a story with a happy ending.  I wish I could say this is a story about a kid who worked his little tail off, didn’t give up, and made the team.  

He didn’t.

He actually was named as the alternate…again.

Today I get to explain it to him.

We will talk about Thomas Edison and the attempts that weren’t lightbulbs.  We’ll talk about JK Rowling and her rejection letters.  We’ll talk about Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team. We’ll talk about one of his cousins and hockey idols, who didn’t play travel hockey until he was older than my son.  We’ll talk about Stephen King, who kept his rejection letters on a nail and filled it.  Maybe we’ll even talk about my file of rejection letters.

Then my son will have to make the decision to dust himself off and keep playing, again.

My 11 year old son loves hockey.  

He lives and breathes hockey.  He watches it, talks about it, and plays it.  He studies it, dreams about it, and quotes statistics.  If you can relate it to hockey, he gets it.

The hardest part of parenting is helping him through those moments when he is reminded that hockey is just a sport, it can’t love you back.