Sitting on top of El Capitan.
Manning a cash register.
Climbing in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado.
Serving noodles at Olive Garden.
As you read the list of experiences above, you likely place them into categories. Makes sense right?
Climbing vs. Working.
Outdoor Fun vs. Indoor Misery.
Or if you’re like me, you may produce the following:
Spiritual Renewal vs. Time-sucking, Life-draining, Soul-Stealing Monotony.
I now work at an Olive Garden where the wretchedness of the Never-Ending Pasta Bowl exists. Tell me that serving 4 bowls of soup, 3 baskets of breadsticks, and 8 bowls of Fettuccini refills to a table that snaps fingers, yells across the restaurant, and leaves a 5% tip can’t steal your soul.
But to teach myself a lesson, I’ve decided to break down these carelessly constructed categories: (1) Climbing vs. Work, (2) Fun vs. Misery, and (3) Spiritual vs. Not. I’m going to look at their common ground?
Two summers ago, when working in Yosemite National Park, I would climb towering walls of granite and in the same day step into work as a cashier at the Yosemite Village Store. The moment I finished a climb and entered the doors of my job, my attitude morphed from pure, spiritual enlightenment into a defensive brace against the upcoming 8 hours of torture.
But about halfway through the summer, a fellow coworker and I began discussing what makes a moment “spiritual.” We discovered something frightening:
Our own poor attitudes were ruining moments intended to reveal God’s beauty. We realized the potential for spiritual awakening behind our registers through conversing with real-life, beautiful people. And in the same way the crystal clear waters of the Merced River revived our skinny-dipping souls, serving noodles in my current job at Olive Garden can kindle my spirit.
There is the potential for beauty in every moment, but if our eyes are closed, we’re guaranteed to miss it.
So what do the four experiences (El Cap, a register, Eldorado Canyon, and noodles) all have in common?
They provide opportunities for God’s beauty to shake something in us. Embracing them as His offering provides a state of remarkable peace and equilibrium.
I often fail to live out this faith in practice, quickly becoming frustrated at guests, coworkers, and the tedium of noodles. But ultimately, I am responsible for intentionally focusing on how God reveals Himself and His beauty in every circumstance.
The potential is there. Embrace each moment.
With eyes wide open,
Founder of The Network 5.12