Just as I set out to write this column, the bell in the tower immediately over my head began to toll the hour.
This small co-incidence changed the topic of my column.
I suspect life is like that quite often. We set out to do one thing, a minor tug or pull or impediment changes our direction and something entirely different occurs.
And we become inured to what is. I have been here a mere six months, yet already the bell—which rings on the hour (well, sometimes just off the hour)—has become part of the background. I usually do not consciously recognize that it is ringing. Like the city person who sleeps through sirens and car horns blaring but who, when visiting the country, finds the crickets just too loud to sleep, we become used to that which goes on around us.
How often do we do that in our relationships—become used to having someone around and simply take for granted that they are? How often do we do that with our spirituality—take for granted that it is, and allow it to sit by itself in a hidden corner of our hearts or souls?
What does it take to remind us to wake up to ourselves and to the wonders in the world around us?
In the services of some Unitarian Universalist congregations and in the services of some Buddhist groups (and I suspect, in many other traditions) one of the “reminders” is the ringing of a bell. It is used as a call to worship, a call to open one’s heart to whatever is, for that person, .sacred or holy.
May we be reminded continually of the sacred nature of life. May the ringing of a bell, the sound of a bird singing in a tree, the cry of a baby or the yelping of a puppy remind us continually of the beauty that is around us always. May we never become inured to that experience, the experience of beauty, of the sacred, of the holy.