Seeing the Forest but Not the Trees

Our daughter is this ray of sunshine. She is so happy and joyful. On the flip side, when she is sad, she is sssaaaadddd. There is usually no middle ground, all in or all out. But that is part of what makes her her. Laughing, giggling, creative, crying, sobbing, hot mess- those make up her. This morning as we were walking, she kept hiding behind corners, door ways, around bends with her back turned to us. When I would come up to her, or even  just passed, she would turn around and yell “BOO!” Then giggle and laugh that deep belly laugh that is so contagious.

What she didn’t quite get, though, is that when her back was turned toward us, her backpack, coat and head stuck out passed the things she was hiding behind. You couldn’t help but notice her standing there. Not to mention her giggling as she was psyching herself up to scare us. It made it impossible to not know she was there. But, like any parent, when she finally yelled and laughed, we would shout out “WHHOAA, you scared me” to respect the effort she was putting into it all. Though it was tacky, it made her laugh all the more and run up to the next bend in the path to do it again. Like I said, a ray of sunshine in our lives.

Though I try to be observant, I do miss things. I’m not all knowing after all. But I try to be aware of my surroundings, people around me, places I am. Working closely with those in the military a few years ago, they are hyper aware of what’s going on. After going to battle, I suppose you need to be in order to stay alive. I am in no way as observant or aware of my surroundings as they are, but still, I try to be as aware as I can. The monotony of life is probably the hardest time, or times, to be aware. I guess that’s why most car accidents occur within 25 miles from home. For me, mowing the lawn when I was growing up was the most monotonous thing I did. Simply following the line I mowed 5 minutes before, around and around in circles, the constant hum of the engine.Three to six hours each week round and round….monotonous. Oddly, that is one of the first things I crave to do when I get back to the States..mow my folks lawn. That’s another story, I’m sure.

This morning, before our daughter was trying to scare us, I read these verses as I walk through the  50 days after Easter (which is yet another story)….

 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).           John 20:11-18

I was fairly moved by this passage. It wasn’t the angels, nor the fact that Jesus’ had risen. It was that He had risen and Mary didn’t even notice Him. She wasn’t aware of God’s presence amidst the despair of losing Jesus. It was so impossible and unusual that the cultural monotony of coming to the grave and trying to find the dead, lifeless body of Jesus that caused her to be unaware of Jesus being resurrected.

I wonder, when I’m caught up in the monotony of my life, what I am missing. I wonder because of my cultural monotony, what am I missing? What am I not aware of that is around me, moment by moment? Easter has come and gone. Other than barbecues, get togethers and fireworks, what are we looking past the monotony in our lives towards? Thanksgiving and then Christmas, I guess? I do, at times, look past what is to come, to the holiday that comes next…to break up the routine, habitual repetition of my daily life. But if I’m looking there, and not looking here, around me, in this moment, what am I missing?

It doesn’t say if Jesus yelled “Mary” or simply spoke her name. I am going to assume the latter. He spoke her name and that familiar voice was enough to shake her out of her dull, one-track-mind thinking into the present reality.  And this morning as I read that passage, He did the same to me. It helped me become aware of what’s going on right now, right  here and not trailing off into the eternal “what if” and “future” thinking.

So, today, let’s be like Mary. Not in the unaware, but in the realization of God, the Christ with us. Near us. Walking with us.

Do you feel the same as I? Here but not really here? Physically present but unaware of God’s presence? Or, are you aware? What is your experience?

Be blessed today

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