The variety of wildlife is one of the great blessings of the Roaring Fork Valley. Vocal Canada geese, hungry bears, noisy squirrels, thieving chipmunks, hard to find moose, fast deer, and migrating elk are just some of the creatures we witness. While I love them all, I’ve become partial to the owls that live and nest in trees. Perhaps my affinity for owls stems to my childhood and the hours spent pondering Owl in the Winnie-the-Pooh series.

The other day when I arrived home, my wife Regina asked, “Did you see it?” “See what,” I replied. She said, “the magnificent owl standing on the street sign. It has been there for hours.” There is a picture of the owl in question in this Mountaineer taken by a neighbor. When she showed me the photo I was stunned. “How on earth could I have missed that,” I said.

I literally had been up and down the street at least four times in one hour and not once did I see the owl. I immediately headed down the street so I too could observe the owl. When I arrived, however, the owl was gone.

As I walked home, it struck me that I had been quite preoccupied with many things. That while my mind was busy it was not attentive to what was right in front of me. Perhaps I did not see the owl because my mind was on other things and clearly I did not expect to see one.

There is little doubt the old truism that we often see or encounter what we expect is often true. Had I anticipated the possibility of an owl, I would have been on the lookout and seen the beautiful creature.

This got me thinking. I believe that when we expect God to be acting in our lives or anticipate that God is up to something within us and around us, that we are far more likely to see God’s presence than if we have no such expectations or anticipations. When we trust that God is with us, around us, and powerfully moving in the midst of a variety of circumstances, we are far more likely to notice God.

While it is unrealistic to see an owl every day, we have every reason to expect to see God acting, especially if this is our assumption. I invite you to join me this day to anticipate and to expect to see God’s presence in your life or in the lives of those you encounter. By doing so, I believe grace filled awakenings await each of us. Keep your eyes open for owls, they are around, filling our skies with God’s majesty.