Devotion Twenty Five
How many times have we been reminded that you see what you are looking for? If you are looking for trouble, you find it. If you are looking for bad news, there is bad news aplenty. If you are looking for kindness, you see it. If you are looking for beauty, it is there.
In the book, Bewilderment, by Richard Powers, which, by the way, I highly recommend, there is a wonderful scene about looking and seeing. Robbie, who is 9, and his dad are taking a walk near their home. There are some other neighborhood kids, a little older, trying to dig up a stop sign. Robbie goes up to them and asks what they are doing. And he ends up asking them if they know about the owl in the tree at the nearby church. They all go to look for the owl. And find it. In the tree. They watch until it flies off. The dad is astounded that Robbie is aware of the owl and where it lives. Robbie and his dad continue on their walk. The dad asks, “How did you happen to find him?” Robbie replies, “Easy. I just looked.” [Bewilderment, p. 159-160.]
This scene has stayed with me. I wonder what is in my path that I haven’t seen because I haven’t looked. Why haven’t I looked? There can be things that distract us. We may be pre-occupied. Maybe we are concentrating on something else. Maybe we have become oblivious to nature. And to other things. Like someone with a need. Or someone in pain. Maybe someone with a story to tell. Maybe we are missing something within us. That needs to be attended to. Or something wonderful and beautiful that we simply haven’t been aware of. What are we missing?
There is a wildness in mercy. Lent is a time to be reminded to pay attention. Where does the owl live in your neighborhood?
We may have often sung, ‘Open my eyes that I may see.’ During these Lenten days may we open our eyes. Take a few moments to look at something. Just to look. At people passing by. At a painting. At the yard. At the water. Really look. What do you notice that you have not noticed before? Practice this looking outside of yourself. And also practice this looking inside of yourself. What is there that you haven’t noticed before? Give thanks for what you discover even if it is something difficult or painful. Amen.