Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seeing Through a Small Hole

The windshield on my car was hit by a rock or something about a year ago and you could see a small crack. When the cold weather hit, with ice, a few weeks ago, the small little crack grew all the way across the windshield. My insurance company sent someone to the church to replace it.

It’s been a while since I had this done or needed it done. But, it’s great to have a new windshield. The guy who put it in said: “Don’t wash it for 48 hours.” I thought, “I’ll try to resist the temptation.”

The new windshield is clean and clear. It feels like I have a whole new view of the world. The brightness of the sun seems brighter and everything is so clear.

This winter we’ve had a lot of ice and snow as have many parts of the country. During one icy event, I read a newspaper article that warned people not to drive unless the whole windshield is cleared of ice. Many people, like me, just carve out a small whole to see through and drive anyway.

It made me think about the way we live our lives. Most of us try to live with a small vision of ourselves and the world. If I can’t see it for myself, or understand what someone else is going through, or if I disagree with the handling of something, the temptation is to stay with my small way of looking at things. I can accuse others of seeing in a small way while all the time I’m seeing through my own small hole of vision.

I was at lunch with a church member who was living in the south after having grown up in New England. Our recent retreat leader was also at table. I listened at the New Englander charged that all southerners were myopic. No, said the retreat leader, no more than New Englanders. They went back and forth, each declaring the narrow-mindedness of the other.

A part of what it means to be a sinner (always a good subject during Lent) is to be bound by our own small-hole of vision. Taking ourselves so seriously, we cannot listen to another or think that maybe the other has something worth hearing to say.

Just as it’s dangerous (and I do it often) to drive a car with only a small hole in the ice on the windshield, it’s dangerous to live as if my small vision of reality is all there is. It’s wrong to see the sins of others and not my own. It’s wrong to see the wrongness of others and not my own self-righteousness.

If there is judgment, during the season of Lent, it begins with myself first. God help us to see beyond our own small-hole to the wideness of your mercy for all.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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