Lenten Ponderings—Diamonds in the Snow
How often do we look out in our lives desperate to see signs of new life and renewal, looking for a springtime of the spirit, when all we see is frozen mud, frosted with snow? Yet for those who have eyes to see, that same frozen field often has the sparkle as if of thousands of diamonds. Do you see them? CAN you see them?
There’s an old story about two old men sharing a hospital room for weeks on end eager for any sign of hope. The one was by the window, and could easily see out, while the other was positioned so he could not see. The one by the window each day described scenes out the window of children playing in the park across the way, girls collecting flowers, couples walking hand in hand, beautiful clouds and sunshine, all in an effort to cheer the other who was growing more bitter in incapacitation by the day.
One night, the man by the window woke up choking, but had knocked the buzzer button away and couldn’t reach it. The other man saw his struggle, reached for his nurse call button, but then hesitated and thought to himself, “It looks like he’s about to die. If he does, then I can be moved to the window to see the hope he is describing, but if I call…” Sure enough, within moments, the man by the window choked out his last breath. When the nurses checked on him later, it was too late, and after the bustle surrounding death, the other man asked to be put by the window. When he was moved, he eagerly looked out the window, only to be shocked to see a solid wall just across the garbage strewn alley.
We really see what we are looking for. Whether seeing acres of diamonds in the snow or frozen mud, whether seeing the hope of inspiration and imagination, or a blank wall, we see what we look for. Several of our Bible writers spent time in prison under worse conditions than the worst of our prisons, yet even from such cells, saw an abundance of blessing. What do you see?
It’s all there—it just depends on where you focus. My favorite Bible passage these days is Philippians 4: 8, where we are encouraged to “think on these things”—whatever is beautiful and of good report. Not that we pretend there is no ice or mud, but when we focus on the sparkle of diamonds, and help others do the same, that’s where we find blessings enough to share.
Those who have eyes, let them see. Pastor Jim