Last week Leah and I were getting our house packed as we moved to a new apartment on Saturday. One doesn’t realize just how much garbage they have accumulated until they have to carry it out the house, down the gravel driveway, and into the smelly alley behind one’s house. So, there I was, walking down the gravel driveway toward the smelly alley behind my house when all of a sudden I saw something that caused me to stop in my tracks.
There, surrounded by countless rocks and speckled with dirt and mud, was a yellow marble.
The alley in which I saw the marble is home to ragged dogs, ladies of the night, and drug dealers. Marbles, on the other hand, make me think of dopey school kids circa 1950’s. You’d be hard pressed to find a stronger dichotomy, which made the marble a prime candidate to be picked up and pondered on later.
Unfortunately, my brain boiled all of that down to a single burst of thought that promptly got pre-empted by the fact that I was carrying my weight in garbage bags. “I’ll get it on the way back,” I said, as I took another step forward.
The moment I tore my gaze away from the little yellow sphere, another thought kicked down the door to my brain and bellowed, “YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO SEE THAT MARBLE AGAIN SUCKAH!” For the second time in as many seconds, I stopped. I set down my trash bags, turned around, and damned if the overly enthusiastic thought wasn’t right. My single step had caused some of the gravel to shift, and despite my best efforts, the marble was lost.
I’ve spent the past week thinking about that damn marble.
In my last post I discussed why I’m trying to pay more attention to the world around me. I believe that by noticing the world on a deeper level, we might catch a glimpse of God there. I’m still trying to make seeing the things around me a habit, and the marble was a solid find as far as that goes. But it seems that there’s more to engaging the world around you when you see God in the gravel:
I found the marble on my third trip to the alley in a row. My brain had switched itself off, and I was soundly operating on auto-pilot. All of our brains do this. When there’s nothing immediately shiny to focus on, our brains will retreat into themselves so we can mull over the intricacies of the universe or, in my case at that moment, who would come out on top between Walter White, Dexter Morgan, and Jax Teller. Literally, the only reason I saw that marble was because it was shiny.
I’m like a giant albino crow over here.
God wants to interact with us. He wants to put things in our path that make us think and consider new thoughts and ideas. Opening your eyes is a good start. But don’t forget to be present. Practice existing in single moment increments where your thoughts focus solely on the world physically around you. Don’t miss an opportunity to commune with God because you’re too busy thinking about him.