First Fireflies

Today’s post is by Kimberly Borin

There are serendipitous moments that wake us up to the beauty of life and our connection to all of it. Daisies on the side of the road, the sound of children laughing, a perfect sunrise, or inspirational art can capture our attention and draw us into gratitude. Here, in this place we are fully present to what is and are opened to peace and grace.

fireflies_flickrI recently had a moment just like this. I came upon the first fireflies of the summer season. Seeing their gentle lights took my breath away. I felt like a young girl seeing them for the very first time. The fireflies brought my attention to the present and in that place I was in awe and grateful for the miracles in all of life. Everything in life seemed just right. It was a moment of grace.

Gerald May in his book, Care of Mind, Care of Spirit mentions this sense of appreciation with the present moment. He writes, “This attitude is not a devaluation of our knowledge or abilities, but a simple loving availability of all that we are, just as we are, in the situation as it is, with God’s graceful Spirit blowing where She will.”[i]

This gift of grace even showed up at the pizza parlor. It had been a long day in and outside of the counseling office. I was aware of violence in the world, life-threatening illnesses, effects of divorce, abuse, depression, and my own nagging questions about life. I was tired and in need of comfort. I decided that this called for something healing: a tuna sub with the works.

I headed to the pizza parlor to order my special sub. The submarine sandwich required tuna, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and of course extra mayonnaise on the bread. While waiting, I asked to sit in the empty dining room usually reserved for the dinner hour. I found a cozy booth in the corner, a quiet refuge from the day, a place to rest.

After sitting down, I looked up and across from me was a portrait of The Last Supper. Jesus stood at the center, welcoming his guests with open arms. I was captivated. I also felt like a guest at the table along with the other doubters, worriers, and people trying to sort it out just like me. I was so thankful for this synchronicity, this image. In that moment, I felt present to all of it: the worries, the world, the tuna sub, Jesus, the quiet of the room and that everything in life seemed just right. It was a moment of grace.

These surprising moments, capture our attention, deepen our gratitude, and remind us of our connection with all of life. These moments exist around us all of the time, it is only a matter of noticing. Sunsets, fireflies, tuna subs, and holy images can bring us to a place of awareness and gratitude, offering us grace. These moments when everything in life seeming just right, can then become our gifts of grace to the world.

[i] Gerald G. May, MD, Care of Mind, Care of Spirit, (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992), p. 200.


Dr. Kimberly Borin is a School Counselor, Retreat Leader, and in training to be a Spiritual Director with the Shalem Institute.  She believes that we can find peace and grace in simple ways, each moment. She has been a teacher and counselor since 1989 and holds a doctorate in Education, a master degree in Educational Leadership and one in School Counseling.  She is an Ananda Yoga Teacher for adults and children and the author of the Laughter Salad series of books. You can learn more about Kimberly at:

Photos by Jessica Lucia (hand) and Flickr Creative Commons (jar).

Are you longing to develop your contemplative awareness? Join us for Opening to the Spirit, a 6-week eCourse with Carole Crumley. Begins Oct 18. Registration is open!

August 08, 2015 by Kimberly Ann Borin 2 Comments
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

in a violent world
that ruins all good things
grace abounds
in the rubble and the garbage
not because grace wouldn’t rather
be at home in the beauty of
blooms and lightning bugs
but because, like all those who
work for good and will even clean
up the wreckage, grace
wills itself to be within the worst
inspiring those who, filthy and weary
from trying, have become
the best and, in the dirt, the

Susan Scott
Susan Scott
8 years ago

Kimberly – This is a beautiful piece you’ve written. Thank you for sharing it and nourishing me and many others with your reflections. – Susan Scott


Our mission is to nurture contemplative living and leadership.


In 2025, Shalem will be a dynamic and inclusive community, empowered by the Spirit, where seekers engage in transformation of themselves, their communities, and the world through spiritual growth, deep connection, and courageous action.