Reflecting on Appearances….

The morning has been calm and quiet, with grey skies and dampness in the air. I suspect there is a storm on the way, but it hasn’t arrived yet.  So I was drawn to this amazing photo of an old blue tractor taken by my friend Carole.  I love the contrast between the bright blue paint, the brown rust and red primer. We live in a rural county where old farm equipment like this tractor is a common sight.  You would think this tractor is on its last legs, yet more often than you might think, the engine is still good.  Perhaps the farmers are hoping the tractor will give up the ghost and pass away, to make room for a shiny new model. The tractor seems to defy them, year after year, persisting beyond all reason. We take so much stock in outward appearances, passing judgment on others based on how they look.  If we don’t like what we see, we don’t bother to look any further. Who knows what we might find if we stopped and looked beyond the obvious? One of the extended care facilities in our area displays photographs of the residents from their youth. While the nurses check to see if it is a good time to visit, you are left to ponder these pictures. If the person’s eyes are clearly visible, you can quickly tell who you are looking at. The nurses find visitors and residents both enjoy their time together because of these photos. Visitors see the residents in a new light, and often ask questions about the photos, only to hear stories of days gone by. Take time today to look beyond the obvious, to suspend judgment until you get to know the person inside. Pray to see through God’s eyes and hear through God’s ears, to be fully present to those you encounter.  And remember the surface may be rusted, but inside, the engine is still going strong. Photo by Carole Buckwalter © 2011, used with her permission


Reflecting on Perspective….

Today is the third day of a long, glorious weekend. We are experiencing the warm, crisp fall weather that draws folks out of the city and into the mountains. The leaves are just beginning to change, and we’re past the hot, humid days of summer. So I was drawn to this interesting photo of a spider, taken by my sister Lana. At first glance, you may be reminded of an old science fiction movie, where giant alien spiders are attacking the earth. Instead, the spider is crawling on the screen in her front window, overlooking her neighbor’s house across the street. What you see depends on your perspective. While some are thankful for this lovely weather, others are complaining that winter is almost here, or lamenting that summer is already over. The wonder of the present moment is drowned out by concerns about the future or regrets about the past. Something tiny can loom over you, casting a shadow over all your experiences. Yet tackling a problem head on is not always the best method. We may need to allow a situation to unfold, or create distance from the immediate concern. Yet that takes patience, discipline and time. While stories of incredible leaps of faith may raise our spirits, what we most often require is baby steps of faith, one day at a time. Take time today to create perspective on your current situation, and to enjoy the gift of the present moment. Let go of regrets about the past and concerns about the future. Trust that all shall be well in God’s time, not our time, one baby step at a time. Photo by Lana Sarchiapone

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