Our across-the-street neighbor is a curious old man with the enthusiasm of a child and the body of the Abominable Snowman. I know this only because he rarely wears a shirt. No matter the season, he rarely deviates from his bill-cap, back-brace, and cut-off shorts uniform. Most days, he sits in a frayed blue lawn-chair in his drive-way and waves to each and every car that drives by Hitler style. Cluttered garage on display and blue-grass blaring, my neighbor putters constantly. As my next-door neighbor puts it, “It seems he’s always busy, but rarely accomplishes anything.”
Personally, I’ve watched him whittle, simonize, plant, prune, and polish lots of things, and, over the past four years, I’ve probably watched him take in and put back out close to four dozen plants and trees. And still, though I’ve never actually seen anything take shape or grow as a result of his focused attention, I’d say the old man is onto something. He sees things I don’t, and I mean that quite literally.
Recently, I ventured into Abominable’s lair to let him know we’d be out of town for a few days. I figured there was no one better to keep an eye on things, as he spends most of his time gazing in the direction of our house anyway. Our burly friend was pleased to help and told me so with a lippy smile. Anxious to get back home, I turned to leave, but my feet stood still. Met with the most beautiful panoramic view of the Tulsasky that I’ve seen to date, I suddenly forgot what it was I needed to hurry back and do. Fluffy, cumulonimbus clouds slid across the turquoise sky like frothy bubble bath, their bottoms heavy with rain that would fall soon enough somewhere else.
“Wow,” I muttered.
“Tell me about it,” he chuckled. Leaning back in his lawn chair, he sighed, his hands, one holding an oozing bottle of furniture polish and the other a rag, resting against bare thighs. Watching the clouds with me, he continued, “Just don’t want to be inside when I can be out here, you know?” Suddenly I understood. In my neighbor’s eyes, life isn’t about the task, but the view.
We who truly seek to follow Christ must look like crazy people to the rest of the world, talking to an invisible God, giving up what seems to be ours for the eternal good of others, treating people right only to be mistreated. To those with their eyes set on the tangible and temporary, we must look like busy people who rarely accomplish anything. If only they understood what we understand, that this life is but a breath in the grand scheme of things, that a rich inheritance awaits those who surrender their hearts to Jesus, that true joy is found only in sacrifice, then they would understand why live the way that we do, our eyes constantly on the Father, our hearts set on things above. They would want for themselves what we have because life finally makes sense when you see it from the Father’s point of view.