I’m always amazed when I see, for the first time, something that was right in front of me all along. Sometimes I even have to laugh at the irony. Such was the case a few years ago with a coffee mug I had owned and been
using for several years before that. On the mug is a picture of a scene from nature – snow-capped mountains alongside a forest of deep green pine trees, and the rushing waters of a flowing river lined by rugged boulders. Eagles are
soaring, fish are jumping, and clouds are floating lazily by. The caption on the mug says, “Discover the wonder in every day!”

I enjoy the image, and I’m inspired by the message. But I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee and tea I drank from that mug before I noticed that there were other images hidden among the obvious ones. Camouflaged within
the stunning outdoor setting were outlines of a bear, a wolf, several more fish and eagles, as well as a few other animals that make their home in mountains, forests and streams. Today when I look at that coffee mug, these “hidden”
images jump out at me and I can’t believe I never saw them in the first place.

I had a similar experience just last week with a shirt that I’ve owned for two or three years, and that I wear every few weeks or so. It’s a blue V-neck pullover, and has a black design printed on it. It’s a nondescript design that reminds me of Japanese silhouette art. It almost looks as though someone dipped a paintbrush in black ink and then spattered the ink onto the shirt.

Words are woven into the design, too, and they blend so well into the background that they appear to be part of the scenery, like the animals hidden in the picture on my coffee mug. The “ink spatters” obscure some of the writing, so it’s a bit difficult to decipher even if you’re paying attention to it – which I had never really done before.

I don’t know what it was that made me stop and actually read the words as I was putting on the shirt last week, but I was astonished when I did. The message said, “A world of opportunity awaits those brave enough to take the path less followed.”

I could have added, “Or who take the time to notice it.”

It was a little embarrassing to realize that this profound message and excellent advice was right in front of me – literally – every time I had worn this shirt, and that it had taken me so long to notice it. And later on, when I was telling a friend about my big revelation, she provided me with another one.

“Things will be revealed to us when the time is right,” she said. “I think it’s one of the ways God talks to us. We pray and ask for answers, and we always want them right now. But they’re given to us as we need them, and when we’re ready to receive them.”

I like that a whole lot better than thinking I miss things that are right in front of me because I’m so distracted or rushed that I don’t even see them. But either way, the point is well taken. There is much wonder to be discovered in every day, and there are treasures to be found in our everyday lives – as long as we’re paying attention, we’re willing to explore, and we’re ready to receive them.

I’m going to try reminding myself of this whenever I can. It’s a great message to carry with me as I travel through my life – as I’m getting dressed each morning, as I’m going about my business during the day, and as I’m reflecting on my achievements every evening.

And certainly, whenever I’m enjoying a quiet cup of coffee.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on November 15, 2012.
©Betty Liedtke, 2012

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