Just too used to it

Just another Mandevilla flower, blooming in our Alexandria kitchen. October 2015

Just another mandevilla flower, blooming in our Alexandria kitchen. October 2015

“I think life is staggering and we’re just too used to it.  We are all like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given – it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.”  — Donald Miller

Do you ever read the obituaries of people you don’t know?  I do, on those increasingly rare occasions when I give myself a few minutes to spend with a newspaper.  It’s sobering and staggering to realize how many people are born and how many die each day.  How rich and full, how sad and happy, how triumphant and tragic those lives will be!

Life is totally amazing, when you think about it at all, in any context.  Biologically, psychologically, socially, spiritually…it’s all profound. But we don’t stop to think deeply about it very often.  We’re too busy with car maintenance and dental appointments and updating the software on our gadgets; with eating and sleeping and talking and (hopefully) listening.

I agree with Miller that we are surrounded by gifts– immersed in them, really– and we are just too used to it most of the time.  How many marvelous things do we rush past every single day, too busy to notice?  Even the air we breathe, and the ability to draw that breath, is something most of us take for granted.

Today, I invite you to focus on just one gift that you tend to overlook.  It can be a flower, or a sunset, or an animal.  It can be a person, place or thing.  It can be anything at all that brings you joy, or solace, or serenity, as long as it’s something you scarcely notice most of the time.

Is there anything you might delight in seeing today, except that you’re just too used to it?  Tell us about something in your everyday life that is wonderful or beautiful or even staggering, and let’s remember what it means to be impressed with the gifts we are given.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. MaryAnn

    Such great insight, Julia, as usual! I will search for that overlooked gift that God sends today! Our small group is doing an intense Bible study, digging deep, identifying that our relationship with God is different than knowing about Him. It has made more diligent “seeing” His Hand in everyday life! The name of the study is “Jesus’ Farewell Message” by Frances Chan.
    Praying for you & Matt!

    • Hi Mary Ann! I have listened to some of Francis Chan’s writing (in his own voice) and I hope to read more of his books. I have enjoyed what I have read of him, and I appreciate that he seems to challenge people not to avoid the deep or difficult topics. Hope you are enjoying autumn! ❤

  2. Judy

    This morning the gift that stands out is this: water right here in the house whenever I want it. It’s fresh and safe and just part of the many things I take for granted. Ours comes from city pipes that go to a beautiful mountain lake that’s our area reservoir.

    Yesterday I was part of a frontier life/colonial festival that focused on the skills our ancestors had to have. Nothing was easy for them, including getting water. Water was a very basic necessity. They had to dig wells and carry water in heavy wooden buckets no matter what the weather was, even if they were tired or sick or pregnant. Water was precious and was never ever taken for granted.

    Now we just turn on a faucet without thinking about how amazing it is to have plentiful clean water right at our beck and call. Unless we see something in the news about a drought or people whose lives have been upended by a natural disaster, we don’t give it any thought.

    When I read your post for today, I realized how much I love having fresh, clean water available right here in our house. It’s a blessing to have it whenever we want it. Really a blessing.

    • Judy, thanks for reminding us to be thankful for something we are lucky enough to seldom even think about. As you know, many nonprofits now focus on providing wells and water systems in the developing world, and such efforts raise our awareness of just how fortunate we are to have water readily accessible in multiple rooms of our homes. Bill Bryson’s book At Home is also helpful in reminding us of all the ways we are blessed– including something we REALLY prefer not to think about: having efficient sewage systems. Bill Gates isn’t afraid of the topic, and I wish him well in his endeavors to bring this vital service to those who are without it.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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