I retrieved the following that I wrote on Labor Day weekend last fall from my previous blog - which is about to expire - because, ahem, I've not been a frequent poster. I'm hoping to remedy that!!! In the meantime, here's a peek at my end-of-summer thoughts, 2008.
This Labor Day weekend, my kids are away!!!! Grandma Shirley took them to Hayward. The house has been weirdly quiet - and though I look forward to the return of the boys, I must admit (with more than a twinge of guilt) that I am relishing this thing called ""solitude that I'd all but forgotten post-parenthood.
Last night, my hubby, who rarely gets me to himself, took me out for a twilight boat ride. Now, the lake that we live on is fully green with algae bloom and has provoked more unfavorable comments from those observing it than I think it fairly deserves. Green or not, I find the lake beautiful. Love is colorblind, is it not? As the sun fell near the horizon, the lake became a glorious spectacle. Bits of clouds, lit with purples and pinks, cast their glow on the gentle ridges of the lake's surface. The last of the sun's rays skipped across the mini peaks and valleys formed by the waves in a dazzling day's end display. Hmmmm . . . maybe love is not colorblind - I saw every color playing on the lake last night - and I loved them all!!!
Now, at the very close of the light show, dozens of tiny birds took to the air immediately above the surface of the lake. They appeared in silent droves, dipping nearly into the waves and then up, but always maintaining a very low profile, seldom rising more than two feet from the water. With each passing minute, more and more of the tiny creatures appeared, feeding on insects that were invisible to my eye. At one point, my husband recognized the tiny, beautiful winged creatures for what they were - not birds, but bats.
At this point, I must confess that though I am not a particularly squeamish sort of chick (I pride myself on my farm girl upbringing, not afraid to pick up a snake or squash a spider), I would never, ever think of a bat as creatures of beauty!!! I have seen bats hanging from branches in their public zoo domains. I have also seen bats in photos - their beady little mouse eyes and, well, ugly littly mouth parts. I have even see a few in flight, but knowing they were bats, failed to view them as anything other than the stereotype in my mind.
Here is the thing, folks, bats in flight on a lake are beautiful (I hope you all get to see this some day). Jay and I turned the boat off in the middle of the lake as dusk descended 'til the lake was blanketed in soft black. Hundreds of bats hit the lake. Everywhere we looked, we saw a small dark orb flanked with hyper speed wings. They were acrobats, swooping and somersaulting, dipping and diving. They put on a marvelous show. At times they would fly blindly towards us, but always - about three feet from impact - they would gracefully correct their direction.
I know that God has put people in my life like these bats. I have looked at the wrapping - and missed the beauty of these people's lives in action. I immediately think of a gal I once knew - I will call her Batgirl. Batgirl was niether ugly nor beautiful in appearance - in truth, I'd learned long ago to look past the exterior package - so this was of little import to me anyway. However, I felt justified in making assessments based on the personality package - and I didn't care much for Batgirl's personality; I found her obnoxious, self-serving - and embarrassing. I didn't want Batgirl in my life.
At church, I joined a mom's small group. I had prayed that God would match me with women that would promote spiritual growth in my life. The first day, I sat at a table with a group of lovely women, just what I had hoped for . . . when Batgirl walked in. I silently protested, "Seriously, God - NOT Batgirl!!!"
I recognized that Batgirl was not going anywhere, so I instantly thought that I ought to go somewhere else myself. Batgirl tended to dominate conversations, constantly turning them back to herself. I was there to learn about God - not Batgirl.
Then I remembered my prayer - and I knew that I knew that I knew . . . that this was exactly where I was meant to be - and so, I stayed. I'd asked God to bring women into my life that would grow me - and, though I'd NOT have hand-picked Batgirl for my group, I KNEW without question that her very presence would stretch me, grow me - exactly as I'd requested.
Over the course of the year with Batgirl, my opinion of her personality did not change much because, well, her personality didn't change - at all. However, my view of her as a person evolved into one of humble admiration. In discussion, Batgirl was the first to interject (surprise - not) with Bible-based insights (surprise -really). When volunteers were called on to pray for others, Batgirl again was the first (surprise - not) to respond with heartfelt, fervant petitions (surprise - really). In fact, when anyone in our circle was suffering, confused, or worrying over a loved one, it was Batgirl who, without fail, called on us to join her in calling on the Lord. Her faith was relentless, her focus was the Father, her spirit (which I'd failed to see behind her personality) was beautiful! Surprise, surprise, surprise!!!
Like the beauty of the bats gliding along the lake, Batgirl's spirit in motion was a thing of beauty, reflecting her Father to such a degree that she was unrecognizable from the piece of the package that I'd inspected in the first place.
Father, remind me to not only look beyond the physical appearance of your creations, but also past the personality traits and behavior. Give my Your eyes; show me the heart.
" ...The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV)