Friday, March 15, 2013


Catherine crawled today. Moving in inchworm fashion, she has gained mobility. She pushes up on her arms and legs and scoots forward in small increments. Quite effective, she sets her sights on a desired artifact - usually one of Elizabeth's toys - and goes toward it. Slowly. Steadily. Determinedly. Successfully. Suddenly, she seems to notice her other three family members' mobility and yearns to join as well. She has taken an interest in Elizabeth's toys, and now that Catherine can actually move to retrieve them, Elizabeth notices those deemed unworthy of Catherine's grasp. Luckily, for now, Elizabeth also notices that Catherine just wants something to hold and so she will go and offer a surrogate toy to her baby sister.

Elizabeth notices so much. The food eaten by other people. She makes connections between colors, books, toys, shows, words. She notices Catherine's cry (well before I do most of the time) and rushes to her aid. Her world has expanded drastically over the past few weeks.

I've noticed how much I love how rapidly she absorbs information right now. It is a blast experiencing her growth and development. I love being a dad.

Taking note of something, or noticing it, is a very useful skill. Unfortunately, though, it is one that we often fail to notice; it is often overlooked. For example, you typically notice those things for which you have been predisposed in some way to look. It may be temperament, prior experience, a news story, or even your own desire to find / support a particular answer. It is the old adage that seeing the glass as half full or half empty really impacts your outlook on life.

Beauty is everywhere if you have the eyes / disposition to see it. Ugliness is, too, again depending on your vision.

Schools try to teach the skill of noticing in many and various ways - taking notes, noticing patterns, noticing connections, noticing areas of strength and weakness, noticing aspects of understanding and misunderstanding, noticing the appropriate time and place to behave in certain ways, noticing when a classmate may need help or assistance or a friend. These skills must be taught; educators must notice the need to intentionally focus on them. They cannot be overlooked.

From a Catholic perspective, this noticing goes deeper than just academics and obviously extends to the faith life of students. Noticing the presence of Jesus, noticing the importance of discipline, noticing the call to help others, noticing the will that God has for their lives and noticing ways that they can minister to others are also skills that must be intentionally taught. They cannot be overlooked either.

As we near the final full week of Lent and as we continue to prepare for Passion Sunday and Holy Week and Easter Sunday, let us notice those ways in which we need to ask for God's assistance. Let us have the eyes and ears of faith to see and hear Jesus' voice. Let us not be blind to the miracles around us and the joy in the journey, not just the destination.

As he was being arrested, Jesus healed a soldier's ear that had been cut off by one of Jesus's disciples. Yet, we know that the story still ends in Jesus's condemnation, suffering and eventual death. The criminal on the Cross noticed Jesus and was promised paradise for his faith. The centurion at the foot of the Cross also noticed that Jesus was the Christ, albeit after Jesus's death.

Sometimes the answers are right in front of our eyes. Sometimes the answer is there if we use the right eyes to be able to see it. Sometimes we have to look a bit harder, using a strategy or two to find it.

But, if you haven't noticed, the Answer is always searching for you, enticing you, caring for you, loving you and hoping that you will notice Him.

It's not too late; it's time to begin to notice.