I have lived in many houses in my lifetime, from the house of my childhood on ten acres where I could roam, to the cozy house my husband built for us to begin our life together, to the house in the country for our growing family, to a one-bedroom apartment in South Central Los Angeles where for eighteen weeks we lived with two teenaged sons(!), to the three-story house in Bonn…and several between. We’re now in a two-bedroom condo where, because of minimal storage space, I’ve decided that no new item can be purchased unless its replacement is donated to Goodwill!
But as the rooms have shrunk and the walls may seem to have closed in at this time of life, I’ve observed in others and the temptation in myself, to succumb to a small world mentality along with a small house. Matters that concern me more important than events, circumstances, conditions that affect the larger world.
The tragic events in Washington, D.C. are just one example. While not advocating 24/7 attention to mind-grabbing media, neither could I avoid deep, heart-searching, even weeping attentiveness. On January 2nd I wrote in my journal: I want this to be a year of continual newness, continual growth, greater awareness, deeper thinking. So what practical, though uncomfortable, steps to the goal? As I watched the tragic events in our nation’s capital, was I merely a viewer? Or was I being called to ponder and pray? To ask hard questions about myself, about motivations of the mob, their targets, our leaders?
I realize that this process doesn’t occur in isolation from the “dailies” of life. Beautiful babies were born as rioters wreaked havoc. Grandmothers peacefully died of old age as others struggled for breath in the grips of Covid. But a “double life” is reality for the serious Christian. We dare not let our minds hide in seclusion as our bodies live in shrinking shelters. We must purposefully walk into the blur of hard questions, carefully weigh what we’ve “always believed” and—equally crucial—those leaders we’ve “always followed.”
No matter the size of my house, I want the “square footage” of my heart and mind to continually expand. As a French writer of the early 20th century wrote, It’s never too late to think big. Widen your horizons. Look beyond your normal limits. See things in a larger picture. Consider the next step… Perspective will emerge… (Paul Bourget)