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What the Spring arrival of the magnolia blossom reminds me.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“You missed it, Daddy.”

It was early on a Saturday morning when my five-year-old son, Jack, whispered those sad words into my ear.

I’d returned late the night before from a weeklong whirlwind speaking tour and was still exhausted from the travel. Over the previous seven days I’d been in eight states and delivered more than a dozen presentations. That morning I was jet-lagged, wiped out, and in desperate need of more sleep.

Next to me, my wife was beginning to stir as Jack’s whisper grew in volume. “Daddy, wake up! You missed it!”

I had no idea what he was talking about. Was it a baseball game? Had I inadvertently missed his birthday?

Nope. It was something much simpler, but no less important.

Over 19 years of marriage, Beth and I have moved three times. With each home, we’ve
been blessed to have a grand magnolia tree tower over our front yard.

As a guy who travels a lot, I’ve been to Washington, DC, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. I’ve stared straight up in awe at the redwoods north of San Francisco. I’ve hiked through the Costa Rican rainforest, basked under Hawaiian palm trees, and heard the whispering magic of aspens in the mountains of Colorado. Yet my favorite tree remains the magnolia. And my favorite experience is playing with my family below one as it blossoms.

The official harbinger, in our household, that spring is arriving is when the glorious white, pink, and purple blooms unspool overhead, the magnolia aroma rains down, and the great tree comes to life.

The morning Jack woke me I was in my bed, lying next to my wife for the first time in a week.

The kids were a bit bigger. Beth was a little more tired.

And the magnolia tree in our front yard, which had been dormant all winter, had awakened, sprung to life, fully blossomed, and dropped its petals.

It’s an event I get my kids fired up about every spring. It’s a display that symbolizes perfectly the promise of new life. It’s an awesome spectacle.

And I missed the entire show.

My work requires a good bit of travel. There will occasionally be things that I miss. Many of you can probably relate.

But sometimes do you feel like you’re missing it…and you haven’t even gone anywhere? Times when you are physically present, but emotionally absent? That life is happening all around, but you aren’t really present? For any of it?

From family dinners to corner diners, from airport terminals to team meetings, there exists a vast chasm between our physical presence somewhere and wholehearted engagement once there.

We were not made to be in a thousand places at once.

We were made to be here, in this moment, right now.

To truly live In Awe, we must embrace the miracle replete within each moment in life. Experiences like sunshine in the park, brainstorming meetings in the conference room, and the commute at the end of the day can become significant only when we give it our full attention.

So set down the phone. Put away the newspaper. Let go of the mistakes from yesterday and the worry for tomorrow.

It’s time to wake up. It’s important not to miss it.

Your life is a gift and if you’re too busy racing through it, you may miss the grandeur of the gifts right in front of you.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

15 replies on “Missing What Matters”

You’re inspiring John! Thanks for serving so many people….never grow weary in doing good. But also take time to rest and recover my friend! All the best from the Great Northwest

Thank you for the reminder!! As work/familly/life pull us in different directions we need to remind ourselves to stop and be in the moment.

John, Thanks for the reminder to live inspired..in the moment ! Happy Spring, my daffodils and purple hyacinth are out smiling !

Perfect timing – just what i needed to hear. I love the “Little Prince” message, and its nice reminder on this Monday morning 💗

you are a true Gift from God for sure and you have taught those that get the privilege of seeing you live or reading your book . How we all are a gift and to get up every day with gratitude . Your message was just what I needed .

Wow John!!! Your story had such impact on me. You spoke up in Michigan this year and you referenced the story of my parents. My mom’s favorite was the Magnolia even though the blossoms are a little later coming this year. You reminded me of all the incredibly great things about her. Thank you!!! I’m inspired.

Beautifully said John! Thank you for the reminder to live In Awe. BTW, I am keeping a journal of things my wife does for me and our family. I started in December after reading your book In Awe and happy to say I have not missed a day. I am excited to give it to her for Christmas this year. Thank you for that inspiration also. Best, Chuck

Bird watching is my new hobby. Every morning, I get out my binoculars to discover new species of God’s creation in my wooded backyard. God’s nature creations are magnificent!

You nailed it! We all run around trying to solve the problems of our lives, both at work and at home, never stopping to appreciate the little things. So I stop for a minute each morning and watch the sun come up and appreciate the day before us.

Thank you for this mighty and simple message. Yes, I can truly relate. Bless you and your family as you continue the journey of inspiring others.

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