“Our lives are filled with ordinary moments when the hidden beauty of life breaks into our everyday awareness like an unbidden shaft of light. It is a brush with the sacred, a near occasion of grace. Too often we are blind to these moments. We are busy with our daily obligations and too occupied with our comings and goings to surround our hearts with the quiet that is necessary to hear life’s softer songs.” – From the book
In his 122-page book The Hidden Beauty of Everyday Life, Kent Nerburn shares heartwarming stories and observations about the wonder and meaning concealed amidst ordinary moments. Author of other inspirational books such as Simple Truths and Small Graces, Nerburn unveils the splendor of the mundane, gently prodding us to look closer, deeper at the people, places and things that surround us. From decoding the sermon of birds in England to the abashed, mentally challenged boy who repeats the author’s name like a magical incantation, The Hidden Beauty of Everyday Life conveys heart-tugging wisdom with poetic simplicity.
While it’s all too easy to miss these profound moments, Nerburn writes, “There is no shame in this. We are only human, and the demands of life make a raucous noise. But we must not let those demands drown out the quieter voice of the spirit. We must take the time to stop and listen, knowing that they voice of spirit speaks more often in a whisper than a shout.”
One of the stories that brought tears to my eyes was The Visit, which chronicles a polite, shabbily dressed youth on the streets of England asking for spare change for food (and his heartfelt thanks “You have to let me thank you. It’s all I have to give you in return.”). Upon his return to America, Mr. Nerburn visits an elderly shut-in friend. While he had other things on his mind, such as a busy morning filled with stops and responsibilities—she offered him a plate of artfully arranged cookies. Initially, he had hoped to make a quick exit, and his host seemed to sense his restlessness for her “unless you’re in a hurry” was tinged with sadness. However, remembering the grateful young man in England, he shoved his to-do list deep into his pocket, settling in for a visit with his elderly friend.
Poignant and uplifting, The Hidden Beauty of Everyday Life helps us see beyond the surface to spiritual dimensions that offer profound lessons if we but have ears to hear and eyes to see. Nerburn notes:
“This is a book for those who believe that God speaks as surely in the murmurs of the trees and the laughter of the children as from the pulpits of churches and the synagogues, who know that a mother tucking a child in bed is offering a prayer of joyful praise as surely as the cantor or the minister or the monk at evening vespers.”