How to Notice

by Andrew Taylor-Troutman

There is need of only one thing… Luke 10:42

Thomas Merton claimed he could judge
the spiritual depth of a fellow monk,
not by the fervor of how he prayed,
but his attention to sweeping the floor,
meaning the concentration he gave
to a menial, everyday chore.
We tend to understand truth as either/or,
when the paradox is really both/and—
both action and contemplation.
In one of Louise Penny’s novels,
an artist finds beauty in the bubbles
of dishwashing soap in a dirty pot—
she noticed the tiny rainbows before they popped.

Andrew Taylor-Troutman is the author of Gently Between the Words: Essays and Poems. He is the pastor and head of staff at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church in North Carolina. These poems were originally written for Sunday worship services.

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