Finding Something to Notice
by Susan Smith
Todd Beamer was one of the men who helped take down September 11’s Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, keeping it from hitting its intended target, the White House. When his widow, Lisa Beamer, appeared on Good Morning America, spoke of missing most the little things about Todd…hearing the garage door open when he returned home, or hearing her children running to meet him.
She then shared this story:
I had a very special teacher in high school many years ago whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students. As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom window and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside the edge of her desk and sat down there.
With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Class is over. I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is important.”
“Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate, and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is the Power’s way of telling us that we must make the most of every single day.”
Her eyes beginning to water, she went on. “So, I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn’t have to be something you see. It could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house. Or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently on the ground.
“Please look for these things and cherish them. For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life. The little things are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make it important to notice them, for at anytime, it can all be taken away.”
The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filled out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester.
Every once in a while I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.