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Make sure you don't miss what's been there all along
bressler color
John Bressler

It seems to be "gully washer" week with all the tropical storms coming our way. As long as we don't get flooded, I actually enjoy a good rainy day. I get in my special chair, turn the TV to a golf channel, kick back, close my eyes and listen to the storm. Julie thinks I'm either escaping reality or just plain odd. I'll go with odd.

The storm caused me to remember the play written my Richard Nash, "The Rainmaker." The main characters are Starbuck, a manly name and one I hoped would be given to one of our grandboys, and Lizzie. Starbuck is a man who doesn't believe in anything that is real or common. He lives in a world of make-believe simply because nothing can meet his expectations and dreams. He is a fast talker, a con man and a fake. 

In the play, he claims to be a rainmaker. He strolls into town when there is a drought. There is no breeze, the heat is stifling and the land is turning into dust.

He meets Lizzie, a plain. hardworking. intelligent girl who has just about resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. She is very down to earth and sees the world just as it is — maybe a bit too realistic — but at least she can deal with the struggles of everyday life. Her world is just not good enough for Starbuck because he cannot stand this unexciting and predictable life. He says to Lizzie, "Nothin's as pretty in your hands as it is in your head. There ain't no world near as good as the world I got up here. Why?"

Lizzie answers, "I don't know. Maybe it's because you don't take time to see it. You're always on the go, here, there, nowhere. Running away. Keeping your own company. Maybe if you saw it real. Some nights I'm in the kitchen washing the dishes and Pop's playing poker with the boys. Well, I'll just watch him real close. And at first, I'll just see an ordinary man, middle-aged, not very interesting to look at. And then, minute by minute, I'll see things I never noticed he had and ways of talking I never paid any mind to. And suddenly I know who he is and I love him so much I could cry! And I want to thank God I took the time to see him real."

I believe that many of us grew up taking things for granted. I mean that in a nice way. Whether we were raised in a big house, an apartment, in the country or the city, we took our surroundings as we found them. We didn't worry too much about food or clothing, Mom or Dad or where we happened to live. They were all there before we arrived so we let them get used to us. It wasn't until we began to grow and add a few years of age that we began to be critical about our state of affairs. Some of us discovered that we were better off than others or found out that we couldn't afford what others could. Some of us wanted to run away to something better and some of us felt that we were stuck where we were and what we were and that was about that. 

Life was more like a playground when we were young folks. Tomorrow was another day and a good night's sleep took away a lot of the hurts we felt today. As we got older, tomorrow looked a lot like a repeat of today and sleep was a whole lot more of tossing and turning until time to get up and get going.

The thing is how so many of us miss what is going on right in front of our eyes. Like Lizzie, most of us lived at home for at least 18 to 20 years of our life. Some of us would have lived there longer except for our parents hiding the door key until we got the message. Of course, we knew what they looked like, but we really didn't see them. I think you understand.

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, wrote, "From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view..." We can no longer take another person for granted. Before, we just saw a person pass by. It could have been a man, woman, young, old ... nobody special.

The clerk in the store was nothing more than a clerk, someone to take our order or to complain to when something didn't fit or was the wrong color. The man who collects our trash is just an odd fellow who works for the city doing a job we would not be dead doing. The person behind the wheel of another car is just some dummy to watch out for while we are driving so carefully. Don't look, don't see, don't smile, don't nod, simply avoid, obey the "Walk" or "Wait" signs, focus on the phone. We soon forget to see them as real.

We need something to help us see what is there all along.

In the Old Testament, Samuel is a prophet and judge whose job is to choose a king for Israel. God tells Samuel that he is to meet with Jessie and his sons because one of them is to be chosen. Samuel is about to choose Eliab because the boy seemed to have the attributes of a leader: tall, handsome, well-built, good teeth and a winning smile (my translation).

"But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature because he's not My choice. I do not see someone as humans would see someone. People see the outward appearance, but I see what is in one's heart!"

We carefully read I Corinthians and are amazed that God chooses the foolish things of the world, the despised, the unworthy. That's us, folks.

God sees us real and loves us real folks so much that He sent His Son Jesus to us, for us and allows us the freedom to choose life or death. If we choose life, then we also must choose the reality that we must not exclude, ignore, disregard, separate or overlook any child of God.

When we understand and include, "Suddenly we know who he is and we love him so much we could cry, and we want to thank God that we took the time to see him as real!"

Thanks, God!

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