Only bleached cherry pits under foot and a bright yellow bus and a dad in a rain slicker walking his bike up the sidewalk.

Only kids on the playground playing tag and a girl with jet black hair screaming a warning call with all she’s got.

Only three-year-olds tightrope walking in a circus, moving across a line of charcoal dance floor and bowing proud grins at the applause that follows.

Only tanned biscuit dough stretched across the top of chicken and vegetables.

Only the squeak of trampoline springs and the giggling of girls in leotards on a bright blue mat.

Only a fourth-grader sharing with me about the new “peace club” he started with two other boys to combat bullying at school.

Only their logo and the colors they chose. Yellow, which is happiness, he says, and blue, which is peace and calm “like that relaxed feeling you feel in the shower.”

Only sun breaking small, warm, glorious through pale cloud-streaked sky.

Only each of these, one at a time. And hundreds of them, these pearls of color and texture, sounds, words. Strung together to make our days.

Over these past few months blogging, I’ve known great joy in seeing and fingering these luminescent pearls, stringing them into words to share.

These last months, I’ve realized afresh what I’ve always known. That I don’t want to miss this one chance at life, hobbling through with crazy-eyed anxiety, all of it passing by in a blur of not-enough and should-haves.

I want to draw near to the life that is right here. Come close to the Creator. Pay attention to those he’s placed on every side.

I don’t need to tell you that this life is not perfect. Nor should that be the goal this side of heaven (though I may need you to remind me of this).

Each moment, each day, I can choose. Choose to cup beauty in hands. Give it, give them my full presence.

So much beauty.

Mingled with pain, I can choose to give thanks for this life.

This colorful life strung one shimmering pearl after another.

I want to live fully awake.

Alive.

Then wake up and do it the next day.

Are you with me?

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