Annie Dillard, in my favorite book The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, speaks of this beautiful Osage Orange tree in her back yard. She tells the story of coming out of her cottage to the incredible racket of birds coming from the tree. As she approached the tree, a hundred birds scattered into the air and off into the woods—yet the racket continued. She took another ten steps towards the tree and to her amazement a hundred more flew away. The racket persisted. As hard as she looked, she couldn’t see the birds. She knew they were there, she heard them, but couldn’t see them. This continued until she was directly under the tree and a final brave few scattered into the woods.
My sister-in-law works and serves for a wonderful ministry called Neue Communities, which is part of Church Resource Ministries. She is the director of the Vancouver site. (dream, right?) Each Lenten season, we receive this beautifully designed devotional that provides gospel, story and reflection for each day.
This first week is focused around the word Awaken, this call to arouse our souls and make new for the victory of Christ. This morning, I read these reflection questions by Cynthe Burbidge.
Identify something eternal that you can see in the midst of your current circumstances.
What does it look like for you to be more focused on things of eternity in your everyday life?
What draws me in about these two points of reflection are their simplicity and grandeur all wrapped up in one. The first one, something eternal that you can see—oh that I had the eyes and even more, the clarity. And the second, things of eternity in everyday life. At the onset, they seem to be easy enough questions to answer, but the more I think through them, the more I desire good answers. Good answers because if I had those, that would mean I was seeing glimpses of eternity.
Here’s the context:
"So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever."2 Corinthians 4:16–18 The Message from YouVersion.com, (highlight mine)
It’s that last line that gives me hope, the things we can’t see now will last forever. And what I really love about it, I don’t have to see it for it to be there or be true. In the meantime, I’m searching like Annie Dillard, trying to see the unseen.