Post by Kathleen Schwab
A few times a week I walk downtown to run errands. A few days ago, as I headed towards the shops, I thought about a story in Gabrielle Bossis’ World War II era He and I when Bossi returned one day to her Paris home to find it filled with enemy soldiers. They had let themselves in and taken possession while she was out carrying on normal life. It must have been frightening, and she must have felt powerless. In her living room was a statue of Jesus that she normally kept reverentially covered with a cloth, but someone had removed the cloth. When she saw Jesus presiding over the scene, she knew she would be safe, even with her home full of the enemy. The act of uncovering the statue probably meant nothing to the soldiers; they were simply doing a security check. But the sight of Jesus at that moment told Gabrielle that He was watching over her. She had the eyes to see God in a situation where no one else was aware.
Thinking about this on my walk, I wanted to look for Jesus, so I asked Him to show Himself the way He had for Gabrielle, some way that would be clear to me, even if it looked like nothing important to everyone else. And as I walked, I began seeing tiny flowers everywhere. The little ones kept catching my eye. They were scattered in the grass, oblivious to being stepped on. They popped cheerful faces out of a stone retaining wall. All the way to town, little flowers greeted me, and all the way back they waved. He was there, celebrating the Spring.
Today I headed out to town again, and I hoped for the same thing, for Jesus to show Himself. I asked Him, and then I started looking around, waiting for something to happen. To my surprise, I began seeing all kinds of things I normally don’t notice in my familiar walk to town. In front of the church I’ve passed hundreds of times is a small park, and I saw the two-level fountain, and heard the water rushing over the edge of the top level to churn in the lower basin. I normally don’t even turn my head to look at that simple and beautiful fountain, or the complexity of the gnarled tree trunks around it. I haven’t appreciated how spare and elegant the church itself is, the perfect balance of the stained-glass window in the spire. Headed down the hill I passed another fountain, built under a clock tower; I’ve been walking by that too without noticing how deep and rich the water sounds. Next were apple blossoms, sun-warmed bricks, climbing vines.
I don’t drive a car any more, and when I walk places with friends who are used to driving, they sometimes mention how little one notices from inside a car, and how the world becomes more detailed at walking speed. Something like that happened to me today, except of course I was already walking. I wanted to see Jesus; instead, He wanted me to see His world. I think He was saying that of course He is with me, He is always with Me, and He wants me to be present in His world, to step out into it and be His emissary. I was hoping for something supernatural, and instead He reminded me that He made the natural. The whole world is about Him, I just need the eyes to see it.