Posted by: ritagone | December 10, 2014

The Secret of Seeing


We’re always told to stop and smell the roses.

I’d like to encourage you today to stop and see.

Annie Dillard, one of the most articulate and well-spoken writers around today, said, “The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price.”

I agree. (Not that Annie Dillard needs me to agree with her, but I do, just the same.) I don’t think I usually take the time to actually see everything around me. I’m too busy rushing, too pre-occupied with what’s on my mind, too distracted. Every once in a while, though, I catch myself and do remember to look at the mountains surrounding my home and how green they turn when we’ve had a few days of rain. Or I spend a few minutes really watching my two dogs as they chase one another and play with a toy that the groomer gave them as a gift, a foot-long tube covered in cloth with the head of a dog at one end, and which they enjoy a game of tug of war with. It makes me laugh. But I don’t watch them often enough. I don’t stop to see it. I have to remind myself to really look at my grandkids and my son and daughter and the people I love, my friends who are such an important part of my life. Too often we stop looking at people – really looking and seeing — because we’re so intent on getting the to-do tasks done each day, and that’s a shame.

The other day I noticed that my Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors climbing rose bush in the backyard was blooming again. And when I say I “noticed,” I mean I sat on a chair in the patio and looked and looked and looked at it. It’s a beautiful rosebush. The roses go away mysteriously and then just as mysteriously come back in full bloom. I know nothing about their schedule, nor do I have anything to do with their success. They just appear, and I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t at least thank their Creator by enjoying them for a few minutes in my oh-so-important and busy day. It felt good to honor God by doing that small but significant worship time.

Remember the joy of staring at your child when he or she was asleep in the crib? You could watch them sleeping for hours at a time and never be bored. You didn’t run off to clean the house or read, because watching them was entertainment enough and the dishes would still be there when you were finally sated and finished. Because you knew deep in your heart that there would come a time – sooner than you anticipated – when you could no longer watch your son or your daughter sleeping. It just wasn’t going to be available for you anymore, so you needed to enjoy it while you could.

So I’m trying to put that protocol into action for everything around me that is worth looking at. Because the realization is also upon me that one of these days or one of these years I might not have my sight anymore either. I have a dear friend who is faced with blindness due to macular degeneration. And that’s rather sobering. So while I can stop and look at the things and people I love around me, and the things that God has created that make my life a little bit more cheerful or worthwhile, why wouldn’t I do that?

The answer is: I would and I will.

And you should too.


  1. Thank you Rita for this post. It was beautiful and made me be still and look.

  2. I just love reading your stuff! LOVE YOU! Blessings Michael

    Michael Allen Katzenberger Team Leader Eastern & Central Europe Email: Cell: 805.405.8006

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