Have you ever realized there are things we never notice until someone points them out: things like how the neighbor’s baby looks like Mikhail Gorbachev without the birthmark and that it’s more comfortable to walk on the shady side of the street between noon and three in the summer. These aren’t really important things, but they make you smile or make life easier.

Once author Donald Miller raised this question, “Why are coffee pots always in the bathroom in hotel rooms?” I’d honestly never noticed it before, but since he brought it to my attention, I check every hotel room I stay in to see where the coffee pot is. I would say they’re in the bathroom in 90% of the time. Since I’ve become aware of it, I always move the coffee pot right after I check in. It frees up more counter space in the bathroom and I’m honestly not thrilled with the idea of making coffee next to the toilet.

A sense of awareness is not a character trait or a spiritual gift, but more like a developed habit. I thought after a baby was born a new mom acquired it automatically. My theory was busted the first time I got in the car and realized I’d left the baby in the house as I was backing out of the driveway.

It’s amazing what you can see and learn if you pay attention and become more aware. I’m sure it would cut down on losing the car in a parking lot.

Lately I’ve realized how many people are hurting, not just having a tough day, but hurting to their very core. It’s pushed me to look up and outside of myself a little more often. It doesn’t take a lot to encourage others, even people we don’t know. Something as simple as opening a door for someone, letting a frustrated driver cut in a line of traffic, or offering a kind word and a smile may be the only nice thing a person experiences in a day.

Just like noticing coffee pots placement in hotel rooms, it takes paying attention. People are so much more important than coffee pots.

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