In a Word, at First Sight…

“God is watching out for me.” I saw this sentence earlier in the week and was struck by the way one word can make such a difference. There is something that seems so much more comforting about the idea of God “watching out for me” as compared to God “watching over me.” It is interesting how one word can transform a sentence and create an image that seems easier to embrace. God is not a hovering, “big brother” kind of presence, but rather with me. God is leading the way and protecting me.

Oftentimes it can be all too easy to turn away from something or be closed off to it because of the way it is presented. It can be interesting though, to rewind and replay, taking the time to explore whatever it is that seems offensive in some way. Not only revisiting it, but perhaps also replacing it with what fits or rings true for me.

For example, years ago, I was speaking with a cousin about a new computer she had received. In the conversation, she said something about it not being new, as someone had previously owned it. I think I just said, “Oh,” not knowing what else to say. There was a brief pause and then she said, “Well, it is new to me.”

Sometimes we can be caught up in semantics or, without even realizing it; we can look at things in black and white…with rigidity. When we do this, we are shutting out things that could be helpful in some way and we may be limiting potential growth and learning. This can be especially true when it comes to faith, whatever one’s faith or religion may be.

Yes, there are certain beliefs…practices…tenets to guide the faithful. However, none of them covers every possible situation that I may face. If I do not have some sort of understanding on a deeper, more personal level… an understanding in a way that I can relate to in addition to those beliefs, practices and tenets, then my faith is likely to become stagnant rather than a faith that is living and growing. This is something that is up to me though. I can choose to ignore or reject the things in the world that are different, upset or irritate me, or make no sense to me, or I can choose to look more closely, ask questions, pray, and to seek some sort of value in, or insight by way of them.

Just as, “every cloud has a silver lining,” everything that we may see, at first sight, as nonsensical, annoying, or as oppositional and to be resisted (including defeat), likely comes as a gift, or holds one within it. The question is, “Am I open to unwrapping, and receiving it?”

“We have an infinite amount to learn
both from nature and from each other.”
– John Glenn

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