All The Shiny Things

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Have you ever noticed how captivated we can be by all the shiny things? No matter what age we may be, we are drawn to sparkling, flickering, glittering lights. Whether it is evident in the decorations we adorn our homes and lawns with at Christmas or the fireworks we enjoy for special times of celebration, every sense attunes itself to observe the wonders of such things.

Our imaginations have been piqued by stars, sunrises, sunsets, light causing the streams, rills, and waterfalls to glisten, and moonlight shimmering on a smooth surface of a lake creating a mirror effect. These things can quiet the noise inside us, calm us, creating an awe-filled delight. Those coming from nature remind us of the One who created light and everything it touches.

But it doesn’t stop there. We are drawn to the light emanating from the screens we carry with us or use for work as well as entertainment and pleasure, shiny trinkets of assorted sizes, shapes, and materials. We are caught up with all that shines in theme parts, county fairs, bazaars, and store windows.

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We like having shiny things around us of one kind or another. They can make us smile and lift our mood on cloudy dark days and we work to earn money to buy those things we most enjoy and appreciate. None of that is bad so long as we take heed to the level of distraction that they can also create that take us from the beauty of those other things like stars, sunshine, and moonlight that remind us of God. If we are captivated too long by manmade shiny things we start missing the most important things, like relationships, reading old-fashioned books that do not require screen time, sitting on the front porch sharing bits and pieces of our day with someone or alone reflecting on those same things.

We never plan on these shiny things becoming our preoccupation, but they can little by little develop into that, sometimes approaching addiction or even idol level attention causing us to pursue them above the things that matter for eternity.

These things not only can cost us some things in our preoccupation but also in the care and upkeep of them if they are to retain their value. They keep us in motion, always doing, sometimes to the point of twirling in one circle after another with no pause and little awareness of the life we are called to live no matter what age or season.

“The world has been upside down for so long, it is almost impossible to believe anymore that the meaning of life is not about doing. The notions that it is about being – being caring, being interested, being honest, being truthful, being available, being spiritual, being involved with the important things of life, of living – is so rare, so unspoken of, as to be obtuse. We don’t even know what the meaning means anymore.”

Joan Chittister
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Once and a while in a punctuated moment we wonder where time has gone, how we got to be this old already, and when we last had savored life beyond the few times we did on vacation last year. It never seems to dawn on us that we were caught up with all the shiny things more often than we realized.

If life has been kind and our health has been good, we approach midlife with a goal of finishing strong and then savoring the fruit of our labor, the successes we achieved. We have more of the shiny things we wanted by then while still hoping for a few more perhaps. Our children (if we had them) are building their own lives without much information about the stories of us. We didn’t take time to share them as once was common on front porches and around radios of just a few decades ago.

“Life, it seems, follows a relentless cycle: in our early years we accumulate, but in our later years we divest. Both of them are liberating.”

Joan Chittister
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What once drew our attention and became a goal and then reality has had meaning attached to it. To divest that thing might not be easy and yet not impossible, but we have discovered that what matters most is the story behind it, how we saved for years to buy it, why it was important to us, and what it cost us along the way. All this makes up not only its history but ours as well.

All the shiny things can bless us but should not own us.

One day we will leave them behind and they should not be what we are most remembered for.

“We leave behind our attitude toward the world. We are remembered for whether or not we inspired in others a love for life and an openness to all those who lived it with us. We will be remembered for our smiles and our frowns, for our laughter and our complaints, for our kindness and our selfishness

We leave behind for all the world to see the value system that marks everything we do.”

Joan Chittister
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8 thoughts on “All The Shiny Things

  1. So true! How easily we are distracted… Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from #tuneinthursday

  2. Very wise words. It’s often too easy to be distracted by the man-made shiny things and miss the far more wonderful things God wants us to see and do. Visiting from IMM today

  3. Hi Pam.

    This is a good reminder that the shiny things really aren’t what matter the most. Joan Chittister ‘s quote is powerful. I hope my values are clearly seen.

    Blessings,
    Tammy

    1. Joan Chittister’s book, The Gift of Years, provides more than a few great quotes and powerful insights about aging that she wrote at age 70.💕

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