I stepped out of the car and happened to glance down at the ground before landing on my feet. An odd-shaped rock caught my eye. I immediately beheld how the stone was in the shape of a heart. Tears sprung to my eyes as I pondered the significance of this rock. Certainly, it was unlike anything that would have caught another’s eye. However, it signified the dawning of an incredibly endearing moment for me.
I had just arrived at my grandparent’s home. Family and friends were gathering for my grandmother’s funeral services. My heart was filled with emotion, and my head busy recounting many memories. I found that my eyes continued to easily brim with tears. Picking up the stone I grasped it tightly, tucking it into my pocket. Beholding its shape, I recounted this gift I had been given as I beheld each sweet memory. I shared a whisper to my heavenly-departed grandmother of, “Thank you.”
Life is full of significant and impressive moments. Oftentimes, in my own personal haste to get onto the next thing in my day, I fail to recognize these simplistic, significant moments. In a rush to check off the items on my to-do list, I miss out on sorting out the value and worth of these noteworthy instances. Ironically, hastening to the next task and failing to savor the moment has truly proven a detriment to living life to the fullest. I personally desire to live life to the fullest, yet I have realized that a challenge to my long-time, frenzied perspective is much needed. Certainly, I long to take the time to step back and behold significant moments. It is not only the valuable lessons within those moments but also for the experience of delight within each one of them.
Once again, placing my hand in my pocket, I grasped hold of the heart-shaped rock located there. Softly stroking it, I allowed my mind to wander through all the memories flooding my soul. Memories of family togetherness, laughter, music, and tractor rides. Not easily forgotten were the excursions traipsing up and down the loft ladder of the barn built by my dad and grandfather. After all, once upon a time, the cutest litter of kittens had been tucked away within the confines of that loft.
Striving to boldly face the grief I was encountering, I found it all to be bittersweet. Embracing and beholding the memories of love that exuded from the life my grandparents had lived was a balm to my soul. These moments had shaped, grown, and gifted me with an idyllic childhood. Beholding these moments filled me with deep gratitude.
It has been said that “you will become like what you behold.” Behold, in its definition form, means “to see” or “observe a thing or a person, especially a remarkable or impressive one.” Furthermore, in its Old English form of bihaldan it can be additionally understood to mean, “to thoroughly hold”. Moreover, Germanic parallel words offer the sense to “maintain” or “retain.” So, what does it look like to apply the art of beholding to our daily lives?
The dawning of each new day is an opportunity to receive a gift. Pocketing moments and pausing to reflect, intentionally sorting through emotions, memories, trauma, grief, loss, joys, etc., is but a cog in the wheel of discovery. It can be difficult to face challenging circumstances in our lives. Reorientating our thoughts to behold moments in our day as opportunities to declare gratitude, provides healing. It offers a space for the lifting of spirit and recovery of joy.
Personally, I have come to realize what a favor I do my soul each time I take a moment to stop, pause, reflect, and embrace life in gratitude. In addition, reorientating my thoughts encourages a lessening of anxiety. Rather than allowing life to fly by in a tumultuous blur, taking time to pause and behold moments encourages peace and rest for my spirit and soul.
Embracing life with a spirit of gratitude naturally lends itself into living a life filled with the outpouring of love. Pondering the words, “you will become like what you behold,” encourages one to set a fixed gaze upon that which is highly valued. Especially when that which we are beholding is impressive or remarkable.
In today’s world, living a life exuding love and kindness is truly a sight to behold. Love speaks volumes and makes an impression that will continue to be passed down for generations to come. Beholding love encourages the sharing of kindness and compassion. In addition, it inspires a response to others that is encased with respect and peace.
I had picked up a simple rock. Yet, in beholding its symbolic heart shape, a rush of recognition took hold of me and all the love our family has shared. Embracing these memories and symbolism brought gratitude and joy to my heart. I desired nothing more than to share that love and gratitude with others.
As we embark on a new year and new decade, let us each embrace beholding pivotal moments in our lives. These moments that have impacted us and spoken affirmation into our lives are well worth remembering and recalling. Similarly, the blessing of paying it forward and speaking affirmation into another life can be relished. Likewise, gratefulness will fill the heart as a connection is made, and love is spread.
Let us behold love and take the time to express it. Let the walls that divide us come down and compassion and grace take its place. Above all, may we find moments to celebrate as we take time to pause, reflect, and process. Let us behold all that is impressive and wonderful about the world and our culture today.
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Good advice. I wish I had had it earlier in life. I guess that is one advantage of retirement. You have more time to “behold” and to reflect.