Sunday, February 17, 2019
There's no doubt one of the thrills of my life is being able to get outdoors with a bow, gun, or rod. This time of year, I am especially nostalgic concerning this. When you get cooped up because of the weather you really begin to appreciate those things you are unable to do. This is when the gun and bait shops really come in handy. As I have said before, I am so glad these places encourage loitering. They know that many times talking about past adventures and future expeditions are a balm to our restless, outdoor soul. During periods of inactivity, I am drawn to these places just as much as I am drawn to the outdoors during better weather. We hunters always like handling a new gun or checking out the newest bait the pros are using to catch big bass. And then there are also the guys who, like me, have pulled up a chair at that local hangout. It's probably no different than when our grandfathers met at the local hardware and feed store to play checkers.
This is really the best part about this kind of loitering. It's actually pretty boring if no one is there and I'm left to browse on my own. No, people are what make this place special – people from all ages, from all walks of life and from all social statuses. But we are all there because we have something in common. And while there may be conversations concerning some disagreements, it never seems to affect our relationship. It is as if what we have in common is stronger than what we don't like about one another. The results are friendships that are based on something far deeper than differences. I'm not even sure I know what it is, but I do know this; when I spend periods of time with someone, I begin to get to know so much more of them than simply a political or preferential label. I get to know them – whatever "them" is. And what I begin to realize is, their good qualities so outweigh our differences, I would be the one to lose by excluding them from my life. So, while I may still differ in some areas and even try to convert them to the truths I hold dear; my words will now come from a place far, far deeper than my convictions; but from compassion.
Friday, November 27, 2015
As I have written many times before, when one is in a tree stand, he notices the most intricate things. For hours on end a deer hunter is looking at the same view. He can only see so far in each direction. It never changes. So within his parameters he must learn to look beyond what he would normally see and find intrigue in minutia. These exercises remind me of days in a classroom when we were given a narrow subject and had to write a paper on it. The only way I could ever achieve the word count was if I used every flowery adverb and adjective I knew. There is just so much you can say about a stapler or a candle. The same thing goes for when one is in a tree stand. After a while you quit looking at the tree and start counting the leaves.
What I have noticed however, is how everything changes as the sun changes locations. When it first rises it casts long shadows and illuminates only the east facing boundary. As it goes higher the shadows get shorter and its light encompasses nearly everything. As it sets, another part of nature is revealed in a different and clearer way, and the long shadows return facing the opposite direction. The placement of the sun really does bring out different aspects of the same view.
I've noticed that people are this way too. We are so different and we look at things differently as well. Many of our differences cannot be explained by saying one is right and the other is wrong but instead by simply understanding that each of us sees things from a different perspective. I dare say the world that each of us lives in would be a lot friendlier if we recognized this. A perfect example is in our government. When someone writes, "I don't know how someone can be a Christian and be a republican." and someone else writes, "I don't know how someone can be a Christian and be a democrat;" a light should go off that both are simply seeing things from a different point of view. This doesn't mean there are not some things that are right or wrong but it does mean that somethings are based on how God built and our environment influenced our perspective. The Bible is not silent on this as well. Paul informed the Roman Christians about this when he wrote; "Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it's all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don't. And those who don't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else's servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord's help, they will stand and receive his approval." (Rom 14:1-4 NLT)
There really are no two people who see everything the same and two of them have been married for 35 years. And just as she keeps me around when I may disagree, we should strive to keep others around as well… because we need each other and what brings us together is greater than what has the potential to separate us.