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Beauty in the Garbage

My college roommate from freshman year posted a story about her toddler not long ago, and I was reminded of it yesterday as I was trying to expedite the dinner process while my own two toddlers were still getting along.

She had recounted the time when she swung open the door to her car to unbuckle her daughter when she started shouting, "Mommy! Look! A bird! A baby bird!" My friend turned to look, but she could hardly see the bird because it was beside a nasty old dumpster surrounded by garbage and overflowing with empty boxes. But there it was, in the midst.

It got my friend thinking: When did we start seeing the trash in life before the beauty?

Her daughter taught her a sweet lesson that day. She wrote, "She so innocently taught me to look a little harder, because if you look hard enough, you’ll see the beauty behind the trash."

Isn't that true? For me, in the middle of my mid-afternoon dinner prep, I could have easily focused on the juice spilling all over the counter as I furiously chopped pineapple and watermelon and de-pitted cherries; I could have let my mind wander to the list of to-dos that had yet to be accomplished; I could have focused on how tired my pregnant body was or what I would give to just sit down. But instead, that story floated to the front of my mind like a whisper and I intentionally let my mind settle on the conversation happening at my dining room table: my three-year-old son sweetly comforting and talking to his baby sister. I would have missed their adorable banter if I had let my mind wander. If I became distracted by the obvious.

The world is ugly sometimes. There's a lot of trash to step over. Sometimes the beauty is beside a heaping pile of garbage. But it's there.

Do yourself a favor: Find it.

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