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Stop. It’s a Beautiful World

October 22, 2017 | by Emuna Braverman

Appreciating breathtaking beauty does not come easily to me.

A number of years ago my husband taught a class at a home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The back wall was all glass and when you walked in the view was so spectacular your jaw actually dropped! As the hostess said, "It may not be home but it's much."

I thought of that experience the other day as my husband and I were driving through the White Mountains in New Hampshire to admire the fall foliage. Admire is such a tame term to describe the magnificent beauty of the leaves as they turn color. The reds were so vibrant, the yellow and oranges shimmering – it was "much" – and it was a moment of deep appreciation of the multiple kindnesses that the Almighty does for us.

It didn't have to be like that. Leaves could have just turned brown and dropped off the trees. For that matter leaves and trees could have been deemed totally unnecessary to the creation and eliminated altogether! But for reasons both obvious (scientifically) and obscure (spiritually) this process was set in motion and we have an opportunity every fall to marvel at it. (Actually in Southern California, we don't have this opportunity; hence this trip!)

I am, of course, not the first to notice the beauty of the leaves. Photo books display them, poets glorify them and TripAdvisor tells you the exact route to take to view the greatest beauty. But I can still stop and appreciate the gift. And just stopping and appreciating is not something that comes easily to me.

I like to do, I like to go. I live in fear of creeping old age when my ability to do and go may be curtailed. What if I just have to be? What if I just have to look? What if I just have to quietly experience? What if I'm not productive? All these questions haunt my night (and day) mares.

But looking at those leaves, getting lost in the magnificence of the White Mountain National Forest, I was able to let my breath out. If I stop moving, there is still a lot to "do". Because the Almighty has created this unbelievably beautiful world. And sometimes we are just too busy to see it.

In fact, even as we were driving around, I started to feel a little guilty. Shouldn't I be teaching? Shouldn't I be writing a blog? (I consoled myself that everything I saw and experienced would end up in a blog sooner or later!). Shouldn't I be home with my (independent adult) kids?

I fought back. Besides the importance of quality time with my husband (even in line at the airport we had an important conversation that somehow seemed impossible in the chaos and demands of home – especially over Sukkot), the opportunity to stop and look (or drive and look) was precious. And the chance to stop and appreciate even more so.

I also fought back the demons that kept trying to remind me of all the things that are not so good, not so beautiful in my life or in my world. I fought back the voices that kept trying to remind me of everything that needs fixing (either by me or by the Almighty Himself).

Because for that moment, for those hours actually, the world truly was only beautiful. And I was given this unique opportunity and gift of being able to view and appreciate it. The past is over and we don't know what the future will bring; all we have is this moment here and now. And for just a brief space in time, with the reds and oranges and yellows swirling around me, I am able to block everything else out and just say Thank you. For a totally unnecessary, almost whimsical gift of beauty, beauty that has the power to lift and to refresh.

I can hear Louis Armstrong singing in the background "And I said to myself, What a wonderful world."

Take a moment to experience the awesomeness of God’s creation and watch this breathtaking video about the puffer fish.

Fish is Desperate for Love

You will never look at a fish in the same way. Incredible! Credit: BBC Earth

Posted by Best Video You Will Ever See on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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