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Vision: To Nurture Catholic Men's Spirituality in Chicago Southland
Catholic Chicago Men
A Blog to Nurture Catholic Men's Spirituality

What You Can Become By Looking Out The Window
How making time to look out the window can help us to get more done each day
PHoto: What Dog's Teach Us
Growing up, one of the most favorite things that I loved to do was to look out the window and daydream, pray, watch people and listening to my own thoughts. Recently, I realized that I haven’t looked out the window for some time, so decided to carve out some time to do this. Yes, too much of looking out the window can be idle time, but we must learn the balance of knowing when the Holy Spirit is calling us to listen and concentrate on His voice.

You see, I once again believed the lie that I had too much to get done, and spending time looking out the window was, well, a waste of time. But .. I know the truth is …the daily habit of prayer and reflection helps us to develop a deep unwavering peace about who we are, where we are, and what we are doing.

I remember back in college in the Writing Workshop we always started class by ‘listening to the street’. This is when we all sat in a circle and closed our eyes, then shared what we see in our minds by the sounds from the street outside the window. Being that I went to school in the Chicago Loop there was always rich things to pull from this experience, and I was always amazed by how far our imaginations could go by the time we were done.

What got me to thinking about this is that I recently found myself window gazing about how a few of our neighbors on the block have moved, and I started to reflect on the memories of them, how temporary our houses really are, and how much things and time changes and can fly by like a blink of the eyes. Then, I heard the church bells ringing, and this both reminded me of my late grandmother who used to sing to the music the church bells would play, as well as now during COVID how much I miss making it to Mass by the time the church bells rang (one thing I learned from grandma). There is so much in life we can take for granted if we’re not staying mindful of the things in life that are important to us.

These days it seems like there is no time, even though we have more improvements available to us to save time. As men, we may tell ourselves that we are too busy to look out the window and daydream, but that just might be the thing we need to collect our thoughts that have been waiting for us to give it time. For example, as I watch the people and cars go by on the street, and the runners and the dog walkers, I tend to drain my brain as I study the body language of these people and things out my window.  Likewise, while I walked my dogs over the years, people have said to me how well trained they are because they’ve been watching me through their windows … some of those people are the ones I’ve mentioned who just moved from my block.

I once knew a man who, while he was alive, was a financial investor and would go to the movies each day just to take his mind off things so he could think. You’d ask him how the movie was and he usually couldn’t remember a thing about it, but you could tell his mind was clear about the direction and decisions he needed to make in life. Although once in a while he would share a story line from a movie that spoke to him about a circumstance in his life's work.

While writing this I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit, and then spent twenty minutes to look out my back window, and saw birds of many species flying around, the bees and the butterflies on the flowers, and the squirrels chasing each other up and down the tree trunks. Not to mention the chipmunk speeding across the flower bed, and the neighbors mower muting out these sounds of nature.  And the message that came to me from reflecting on this is that we can miss out on all of this, if we make ourselves too busy, to realize the details of God’s love in the world is a bigger picture than our own concerns. That is the message of this article ...

So, I hope what I have said inspires you to make some ‘window time’. Sometimes we feel the need to go for a walk to a wooded area or a trail, or find a place of sanctuary with a bench to sit for a while, or go on a spiritual retreat, and all of these are good and have their place. But you can also, on short notice especially, spend even a few minutes to look out your window and ‘see’ what comes to mind. Life is too short, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so make today count for we only live one life.

"From time to time, we all need to step back from
who we are, where we are, and what we are doing,
and take another look at ourselves."

~ Matthew Kelly, I Heard God Laugh

Thank's for reading. Enjoy your day.

Frank J Casella,
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