One morning, about a week ago, Andy and I were standing in the backyard drinking our coffee as we watched the kids play in the mid-morning light.
Mornings are sacred times to me. The quietness before our day of work begins — savoring moments together as a family and sipping coffee while Andy and I share little words with one another.
Our backyard is one of my most favorite places to savor these morning-times. It’s a safe place for me — for us — fully surrounded by a tall, wooden privacy fence that turns our tiny, ever-green and usually blooming backyard into a bit of a secluded wonderland. It is the closest thing we have to feeling like we have our own little space in this world, given that we live packed tightly into a cute little neighborhood with tiny houses and tiny yards surrounded by lots of neighbors.
As Andy and I were standing outside on the deck, he glanced over his shoulder toward our neighbor’s house and noticed a tree branch bobbing about. He drew my attention to the shivering limb exclaiming there was a cat in the tree! A cat?
I looked and looked and looked, but I couldn’t see it! I could see the tree swaying in a way that told me it was more than just the early breeze causing movement, but I certainly could NOT see a cat anywhere!
Andy continued to describe the precise placement of the cat to me to help me discover it’s location — that it was right by the bird feeder hanging in the tree if I would just look then I would see it.
I felt myself beginning to grow frustrated and then increasingly moreso as I continued to look directly AT the bird feeder and still there was absolutely NO cat in sight! I knew the cat had to be there, I trusted Andy, and I could see the tree moving, I just couldn’t see the cat anywhere at all. What was I missing?
As it turns out his 8 inches-taller-than-me height made a huge difference.
Andy was able to see over the fence to a lower-hanging bird feeder that was completely out of my view. All I could see from my physical standing point was a second one that was positioned on a limb higher up… one that should have had a cat perched next to it.
As Andy and I were having this discussion about the elusive cat, it reminded me of a million times that I stubbornly refused to hop up onto a chair to fully see things from his perspective. How many times have I been the fool who “takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Prov. 18:2? And how often have I been quick to speak and become frustrated or angry before truly taking the time to listen as we are encouraged to do in James 1:19?
My answer: more times than I’d like to admit. (Andy, this is my public and semi-formal apology to you! Thank you for being patient with me!)
And then I thought about God. (Because let’s just continue to be real here while I’m exposing my shortcomings: my first thoughts aren’t always about God…)
How many times have I prayed and spouted off my opinion about life? Been displeased with my circumstances, my physical body, my gifts… and how many times have I missed the point because I refused to see things from HIS perspective?
God tells us we are:
-Valuable to Him. Luke 12:7
-His masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10
-Loved and Chosen by Him. 1 Thessalonians 1:4
So what happens if we will commit to stop what we are doing (anyone else out there complaining and being stubborn like I am?) and climb up on a chair to see things from God’s perspective — to drop to our knees and humble ourselves to see what He is doing in our lives and how He loves us? To make space to truly hear from Him.
I believe that our lives could be transformed…
The Prayer of St. Francis:
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.