18
Oct
16

CONFESSIONS OF A CITY BOY

farm-life-pictureI did not grow up on a farm. And I think I am the poorer because of it.

Here’s why: because of the fact that I didn’t grow up on a farm I did not regularly see corn plants rising up through the soil, forming tassles, and sprouting ears. And so, a result, I imagine that corn on the cob comes six to a package… neatly wrapped in Cryovac.

Because I did not grow up on a farm, I have not had the daily experience of watching the blossoms give way to tiny buds growing riper and redder every day until they are ready to pick. Therefore my view of the world tells me that apples come in plastic bags stacked in the produce section of my neighborhood grocery store.

Because I did not witness him being born, see him play, watch him graze placidly in the field, and then slowly walk up the chute and onto the truck, the cow who went on to become my double cheeseburger is completely invisible to me.

Based on my insulated, isolated outlook on the world you can see how my thinking might have become shaped and distorted. You can see how someone in my shoes might have come to believe that FOOD – one of the most basic resources of life – somehow appears from thin air in a way designed to maximize my convenience.

Now and then I have even caught myself thinking, “You know… if food were both free AND super convenient life would be even better!”

Of course this is a somewhat ridiculous overstatement of the way I think. But it is really not too far from the truth. As I live I am mostly oblivious to complex web of people and processes involved in the not-so-simple act of putting food on my plate.

That realization spurred me to go on and ask this related question: “If I am this blissfully unaware of the mysterious mechanisms involved in feeding my face, what other ‘hidden processes’ do I fail to notice and therefore take completely for granted?”

The sadly accurate answer to that question is, “Most of them.”

You name it, I take it as my God-given right to be oblivious to it and feel entitled to it at the same time: Clean water, clean(ish) air, trash pick-up and disposal, shelter, domestic tranquility, political freedom, mass communication, religious liberty, orderly traffic flow, the daily newspaper, and oh so many more.

Unfortunately I suspect I am not alone in my willful disconnectedness. Surely I’m not the only person who fails to be dazzled by the wonder of the world swirling around me. Am I?

That is probably why we have artists. To help us see better. That is probably why we have someone like the Psalmist who stopped and looked around and considered the sheer miracle of her world and then wrote:

“You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
And plants for people to use,
To bring forth food from the earth,
And wine to gladden the human heart,
Oil to make the face shine,
And bread to strengthen the human heart.
The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
The cedars in Lebanon that he planted…”            Psalm 104:14-16, NRSV

You know, the biggest miracle you and I probably overlook on a daily basis is the miracle of the other people we share this planet with. Each one of those you will pass today on the street, in the store, on a highway, or in the hospital, is an utter marvel of Creation, gifted more splendidly than you can possibly imagine.

Each of them is carrying around an incredible, eye-opening, true story. Each of them hides more sorrow than they care to imagine. Each of them has more depth and insight than it might appear on the surface. Each one has experienced moments of joy unspeakable that they still remember and hold on to tightly.

So today let’s each take a moment… pause… notice… and give thanks for those hidden mysteries scattered everywhere we look. And let’s thank God for each one of them.

Abundant blessings.


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