Sighting of the Strange Kind

I have to tell you about something I saw on vacation.

So we're driving down the road towards our destination- an afternoon of zip-line action. 

Yes, this is my husband. The zip line guru. Upside-down.

We're enjoying the view, warm air in our face and sound of the waves hitting the shores of lake Michigan.  No job, no stress, no reality really.

Like the screeching of a record (yes, I remember what those are), the scene in front of my eyes broke my serene state of mind.  I turned to my husband and asked "did you just see what I just saw?" 

Right in front of us was- what looked like- the world's largest seagull gulping down an entire squirrel.  I am not kidding.  Head first, down it went until the tail was completely gone. We sat there with our mouths hanging open.

It's not like I ever thought those scavenger birds were cute or anything, but a whole squirrel?  That's just too much nature in one viewing!  I've never been the type to love those nature shows that expose the "circle of life."  I just don't want to know about such things.

Of course, my mind just couldn't leave that image alone. The very bird that was waiting around patiently while my son threw him the little fish he was catching on the docks...just shocking!
Sammy...he must have caught 50 of these things.

How could this bird be so savage?
And of course if my mind can't let go of certain experiences, my mind starts to think about things that relate.

Have you ever had an experience with a person that was like this bird? Pretty, graceful and seemingly friendly on the outside, but savagely vicious on the inside...especially when exposed? Not a pretty picture is it.  Yet, that is the bulk of reality TV these days.  Odd that we're so fascinated by it.  Kind of like those nature shows...

So then my mind has to take it a step further...

Are there times in our lives when we are the "squirrel"- so to speak- and we feel like we're being devoured by the "seagull?" I know there have been times in my life like that. How do we respond?  How should we respond?

Well, one good option is to keep driving and find the zip-line.


The Person in Front of You

Gift Shop Revelation

I was thinking recently about a little wall hanger I saw recently in a gift shop.  It read "appreciate the person in front of you."  I went on to the next thing, but then slowly walked caused me to pause...

...and I love words and phrases that cause me to pause. 

I stood in front of that little wall hanging so long that the sales person asked me twice if I wanted her to take it down for me to buy.  I'm not an impulse buyer.  I have to weigh all my options before I settle on my final purchase.  So I politely said "no thanks, just looking."  She was probably wondering if I'd ever leave that store.  She kept looking at me.  That made me nervous.

Anyway.  That little voice inside asked me if I really do that- you know- appreciate the person in front of me.  Sometimes that little voice makes me antsy.  And uncomfortable.

I had to admit that I, many times, don't.  I mean, people have told me I'm a great listener and should really think about going into professional counseling (and some that I should SEEK professional counseling!), but to be honest, sometimes I don't appreciate.

Pondering that word appreciate, took some time.  I had to define it further...hence the long time staring at the wall.

Have you ever been answering someone's question or in the middle of a deeper conversation, only to have that person get distracted by someone walking by, the cute baby at the next table, a cell phone ringing or another person they want to talk to?  Demeaning isn't it?  That happened to me just this morning.  I was bearing a part of myself to someone and right in the middle of my sentence they turned to say something to someone walking by.  I felt very insignificant and my words were just puffs of smoke that didn't matter...that I didn't really matter.  I walked away and they didn't even notice.  Am I really that boring? I asked myself.  I really felt...well, dismissed.

The little wall hanging came back to me instantly.

So I had to question- while staring at that wall last week- do I do this?  Do I appreciate the person in front of me?  How do I go about making a better effort at not only listening, but appreciating?  After all, I'm only human.  But I sure don't want to make other people feel the way I did this morning.  That little voice kicked in again.  I braced myself.  It told me that all people are made in the image of God and that God's love is vast for each one the same.   

Appreciate them like I they are the only ones in the room at that moment.  Look into their eyes and focus on just them.  Love as if you were Me, because in that moment, you are. 

No, I didn't buy the wall hanging.  But it left a mark far more powerful than something on my wall.  It left an impression on my heart.  You get me?