This damp spring morning, the clover glistened. I found myself captivated. Thousands of tiny specs, dazzling, lay before my eyes. Green at its spring loveliest, crowned with glistening drops of misty moisture. Droplets suspended, balancing on each smooth leaf like rare jewels on tiny table tops. Droplets sparkling, like diamonds in a crown. Ordinary clover — the kind people ignore — made regal.
My human heart, earlier compressed by the day’s long to-do list, buoyed. And as I gazed, I remembered. I remembered the words of a man I never knew, but who I think of when I notice, and am lifted by, the majesty of a tree, or a mesmerizing sunset, or a patch of ordinary clover:
“When he spoke of the tree he saw on the way to class this morning, you wondered why you had been so blind all your life…His plea was that we stop being unamazed by the strange glory of ordinary things…”
He’d made resolutions:
“1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me…
3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood…
5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence…
9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead…try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.
10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.”
(John Piper’s recorded words of a beloved college professor, Clyde Kilby (1902-1986). This excerpt of Kilby’s words taken from Piper’s 10 Resolutions for Mental Health, Dec. 31, 2007)