Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Taking time to see

Don’t ask me to slow down and jump in the leaves, because I am going to be thinking, “Yeah, right. And who’s going to have to rake them all up again afterward, huh?” And stop to smell the roses? Please: those things have thorns, don’t you know? Keep your nose away.

Given that only last week I was pontificating on the problem of not being able to focus on what really matters because of life-sucking distractions, it’s somewhat ironic that I have spent the past few days reflecting on the fact that sometimes we can actually get too focused. Call it ying-yang. Or maybe ADHD.

Anyway, it all started in church on Sunday as Chuck read part of the creation account from Genesis 1. We were somewhere in Day Three, with the land and water being separated, when Chuck intoned: “And God saw that it was good.” It got me thinking.

God says creation is “good” three times in Genesis 1, and once that it is “very good,” on the final day. This A-plus-plus grade comes when mankind appears, which some have taken to be God’s enthusiastic thumbs-up for sex.

Be that as it may, I spent most of Sunday’s sermon time (sorry, Christopher!) wondering why the Bible tells us that “God saw that it was good.” After all, I don’t think it came as a surprise to Him, Gary (The Far Side) Larson’s funny creation cartoons notwithstanding. I’m pretty sure that with the heavenly lights set in place, God did not step back and say, “Well, that worked out better than We’d hoped!”

Here’s God in the midst of the biggest project ever undertaken (I think we can all agree that creating everything out of nothing trumps our end-of-the-week deadline, or mega-money deal, or unprecedented IPO, right?). Yet He still finds the time to be observant, to notice, to dwell on things long enough for them to sink in.

He didn’t just look or glance, He saw. There’s a difference. It takes a bit more to observe something well enough that you can weigh in on it (“It’s good!”). You have to pause, to linger. Busy as He was, God wasn’t so focused on the end goal that He didn’t have time to appreciate the process.

I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise, really, because He needn’t have taken six days to get it all done in the first place. If He can produce the best wine in an instant, as He did at the wedding in Cana, bypassing or turbocharging the usual fermentation process, then He could have just snapped His fingers and (Big?) bang, there everything was in a flash.

Instead, God chose to take His time. Maybe the getting there was actually part of the goal. All this rather frustrates me, as I tend to become a little single-tracked when I have an important task in hand. I’m so busy looking up the road that I’m not noticing where, what, and who I am passing, or even enjoying the progress I am making.

But if God can take time to stop and smell the roses, which He may have done on Day Three when He pronounced the plants “good,” then maybe I should too. I wouldn’t even be entirely surprised if, while walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day and discussing the care of Eden, pre-exile, God didn’t say, “Hey, kids, see that pile of leaves over there…”

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