When I look at something, I have a tendancy to critique it before I praise it. So today when I looked out the car window and saw houses and trees and cars, and perceived it all as beautiful, and the flaws did not diminish the beauty at all, it was a brief striking moment. I quickly pondered if that is the way God sees the world. Then it was over.
When I meet a person, I try to understand who they are by understanding what they've been through in the past and where they are today, without judging them. Just to understand the individual. I guess I don't like to judge people because, although I may not agree with the way they've responded to their past circumstances, I will never know if I would have made the same choice. If you let them, most people will give you a reason that made sense to them at the time their decision was made. You can see how they believed they were doing what they believed best in their eyes and hear it in their voice. I have to believe that a higher purpose was at play whether it seems logical or not to me, or to the person whose decisions are in discussion.
When I look at a culture, I look at the "lowercase people", the people who are the most looked down on by their culture. The way they are treated tells me how strong the culture is.
A law of physics: "An object is only as strong as its weakest point".
To me, this means that it's easy to flatter the strong people, more daring to praise the poor.
I was talking to my mom in the car once about buildings and how the centuries-old stone buildings in Europe are still standing in good condition, and they are so much more artistically appealing then the rectangular buildings that always seem to be breaking and being torn down and reconstructed around here. I asked why and immediately said Well, that was a stupid question. Certainly not lack of resources. Money. Our culture supports the idea that it's best to gain the most money from the smallest output. Basically, it's cheaper to build something with weaker materials and easier to build something simple than it is to build something that takes years to design, years to build out of quality materials; therefore, it must be better to barely create something weak than to try to create something strong. So I concluded that this culture is founded on waste; it's bound to crumble from the inside out.
I've read two different accounts of people who have visited Darfur with the intention of helping the people there and giving them hope, and the knowledge that their sufferings have not been forgotten. Both accounts, one by Jon Foreman and the other by Eduardo Verastegui, express the humility experienced by these travellers when they found that they were given much more than they gave. They were surprised to see joy and hope in each individual's face, much more than they see here.
Mother Theresa was once asked to give a speech to recieve the Nobel Prize. In her speech, she said that we have everything, but we in the West are the truly poor, because even as we are financially secure and physically healthy, we have no foundation of love in our own homes. This is a link to the speech.
I've never read anything from Mother Theresa before except her quotes that are everywhere. It is worth taking a minute to read the speech. It's hard to find things this beautiful said anymore.
Do you remember when we were just kids
and cardboard boxes took us miles
from what we would miss;
taken to heart,
and laughter took the place
of everything we knew we were not?
I wanna break every clock-
The hands of time would never move again.
We could stay in this moment
for the rest of our lives.
Is it over now?
Hey, is it over now?
Amazing how life turns out the way that it does.
We end up hurtin the worst
the only ones we really love.
~From Inevitable, by anberlin