This reflection comes to us from Mimi Montgomery.

“When I want to take God at his word exactly, I take a peep out the window at Creation. Because that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day, without a lot of dubious middle managers.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Father Sullivan hoped to elevate the present to a state of divine. It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself. God may have been the baseball games, the beautiful cigarette he smoked alone after checking to see that all the bats had been put back behind the closet door…How wrongheaded it seemed now to think that the thrill of heartbeat and breath were just a stepping stone to something greater. What could be greater than the armchair, the window, the snow? Life itself had been holy.” – Ann Patchett

My second year of college, during one of the three core literature classes required of all English majors, I became familiar with the term “sublime.” Not as in, “Muffy, your crudites are simply sublime,” or the 90s ska-punk band, but the noun, the philosophy – the sublime.

Without delving into an existential musing over Kant and Schopenhauer, the sublime is a literary and artistic trope meant to connote a feeling of awe or astonishment in the face of superior might. For 19th-century Romantics, this often took the form of nature, say the staggeringly large and dangerously beautiful mountains described in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the sweeping landscapes of artist J.M.W. Turner. The end goal was to provoke a dissolution of ego in the face of such awesomeness, leaving the audience stunned in emotional or spiritual reaction.

Unless you are a Tibetan monk living in the spirals of the Himalayas, I think it’s fair to say that very few of us encounter such instances of natural sublime in our every day. (I, for one, live in the boxy, bureaucratic grid that is Washington, D.C. It’s not as if I’m often sent into jittery existential appreciation over the Federal Reserve building’s facade.) But such is life: It would probably be pretty hard to get the grocery shopping done or Swiffer the kitchen floor if you were constantly having your socks knocked off by shimmering glaciers or majestic redwoods.

The thing is, though, that our old, trusty friends social media, envy and comparison, dictate that our socks should be constantly knocked off. Look – Becky and her husband went cage-diving with a bunch of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef, and there’s Amy eating a seal’s bladder in an Inuit village! Being inundated with other people’s extraordinary moments turns the spectacular into the norm, while reality is demoted to something worth avoiding.

I myself all too often fall prey to this train of thought, both in a physical and spiritual sense. The bucket-list of places I’d like to visit is endless, each one topping the previous in stature and heft: Bali, the Arctic Circle, the Great Pyramids, Machu Picchu. Of course, I want to visit these places for their history, culture and beauty (and the Instagrams – duh), but there’s also a part of me that feels I must stand before stupendous sights for my spiritual comprehension to form, that only in moments of wild vastness and wonder will I truly meet God.

I think this is a fairly common urge – we humans sure look for a lot of earthly ways to banish the ego. A stint at an electricity-free ecolodge, a silent meditation retreat, summiting Mount Everest – all are attempts to dissolve the self through experiencing something greater, to feel small and amazed, to know that there are forces out there greater than ourselves. In a society programmed to make us think otherwise, we want to be reminded that we are not at the center of it all.

Bear Grylls or nomadic millionaires aside, such instances do not frequently occur for us average folk. The everyday is, of course, much subtler and contained. Walking the dog, filling the car with gas, throwing a load of laundry in the dryer – how hard it can be to find the sublime in the ordinary, in the midst of our own basic routines.

I’ve been flirting with mindfulness and meditation recently, which at times can seem like a fool’s errand. My thoughts tend to spiral around like cars in the Daytona 500, and quieting them is a task Herculean in effort. A basic tenet of mindfulness is appreciating the pleasantness of the current moment, which seems like such an obvious thing to do that it’s almost impossible (and, at times, infuriating).

One of my best friends, who also happens to be one of the wisest, recently kept a gratitude journal over Lent. Each day, she tried to write down a few things she was thankful for, no matter how seemingly small or silly. She sent me an email with some of the things that made the list: “A quiet cup of coffee has been big for me,” she wrote. “Also babies, flowers, yoga, birds, connectedness to friends in their absence, laughing. My favorite entry includes queso.”

This is where I find God the most, too – a big cup of coffee when everyone else is still sleeping, the feeling of sitting in comfortable silence with a friend, an unexpected act of kindness from a stranger. Queso.

We often find things when we stop looking – car keys, a new boyfriend, peace. The wisest bear of them all – Winnie the Pooh – summed up this feeling well when he said, “Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” It’s a simple answer, but those can often be the most difficult to remember. I spend so much time searching for God that I often forget He’s always right there, waiting for me.

This is simultaneously the most basic and incomprehensible grace of all. But, then again, God defies all expectations – his mystery is playful and loving in its scope. He’s a current so ingrained in my life, He flows through without my even noticing. And what’s more awesome than that?

Even though this realization doesn’t often take place on a Patagonian glacier, it may be the most sublime of all: That your life, even at this moment, holds some still goodness that is beyond your own doing. That you don’t have to go anywhere, or do anything at all, and wonder still follows you.