Many years ago, a very special high school teacher’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack.
About a week after his death, as the late afternoon sunlight streamed in through the classroom windows, she sat down on the edge of her desk.
With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she said to us, her students, “Before class is over, I would like to share something unrelated to our class but that I feel is very important.”
“Each of us is put here on Earth to learn, share, love, appreciate, and give. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is God’s way of urging us to make the most out of every single day.”
“So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice — perhaps the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground.”
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be something you see. It could be a scent — perhaps freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house. Or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees.”
“Please look for these things, and cherish them. For, although it may sound trite, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life; the little things we are put here on Earth to enjoy; the things we often take for granted. We must make it a priority to notice them, for at any time . . .
. . . it can all be taken away.”
The class went silent. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, at least one of the students noticed more things on his way home than he had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher. I remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate what we all sometimes overlook.
Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone. Take time for yourself and be mindful of the simple moments. You’ll likely see things you’ve never seen before.
For as we get older, we don’t regret the things we’ve done but the things we didn’t do.