Maybe it was the cold. It was 12 degrees that day.
Maybe it was distance. I was half way through my 6 mile run.
Maybe it was being alone on a trail.
Whatever it was, I was reflecting on the beauty of what was around me.

One of my favorite trails to run was recently underwater due to the devastating flooding that took place in Missouri in late 2015. On Saturday, I was struck by the amount of debris that is still there. Trees are uprooted. Branches and twigs all mangled together everywhere I looked. In some places, if you looked closely, you could see the direction of the trees all slightly bent in the same direction, a reminder that the water forced them in that direction. There are new beaches on the trail, sand taken from the river and placed into it’s new home. Some might think it’s a mess.

And, yet on that cold day I was struck its beauty.

It was me.
It was us.

I saw relationships and all the messiness that can go along with them.
I saw connections.
I saw sadness.
I saw energy.
I saw hurt.
I saw anger.
I saw grace.
I saw wanting to let things go.
I saw wanting things to work out.
I saw needing to move on.
I saw boundaries.
I saw doubt.
I saw fear.
I saw happiness.
I saw busy.
I saw messy.
I saw guilt.
I saw pain.
I saw confusion.
I saw conversations I didn’t have, but should have.
I saw conversations that I regret having.
I saw not knowing where to start.
I saw regret.

And, in the messiness, I also saw beauty.
And, hope.
And, a fresh start.

Cold sunlight peaking through the cracks.

I could feel the quiet.

That tall tree in the front, surrounded by the mess – that’s me. And you.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the flood of life. Stand still, feel the quiet, and focus on that one strong tree towering above the messiness of it all – and remember that it’s also really beautiful.