Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Smiled at An Umbrella

I smiled at an umbrella today. I didn't really mean to.

My heart's desire is to be a friendly person, waving and smiling at my neighbors as I pass by. So when I took my morning constitutional today and saw something resting on my neighbor's carport bench, I smiled a congenial smile and continued on my way. At this point I should probably point out how incredibly near-sighted I am, and how I generally go walking without wearing my contacts or glasses. In truth, I can't see past the end of my elbow.

As I squinted into the distance, it crossed my mind that the mass didn't really look like a person - that's why I chose to merely smile and not wave, too. Nevertheless, I made my way home smugly confident in my friendly behavior.

I felt that way right up to the time I left the house to go to work. Passing by that same carport, this time with contacts installed, I realized the object was not a person, not even an animal; it was an umbrella, leaning against a bench and waving in the wind. I'd proudly smiled at a stinkin' umbrella. I'd chosen to believe my assumptions in my blind, unseeing state, rather than going a little closer (OK, a LOT closer) to investigate the truth. Furthermore, with vanity, I'd celebrated my behavior as worthwhile, even praise-worthy!

How many times a week - a day - do I blindly observe the world around me, smiling at umbrellas and feeling proud of myself for it? How much of what I believe to be truth is my assumed perception? How frequently am I willing to take extra steps to get a little closer, delve a little deeper for the realities of the situations and people whom I encounter? Even more importantly, how dedicated am I to "know[ing] Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Philippians 3:10)?

Maybe if I'd quit smiling at umbrellas, I'd have time for a little more exploration and learning.

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