“Are you ok?”
The words startled me, although I should have believed that they could or should be said by someone standing nearby. The simple act of catching my foot on the edge of a curb unexpectedly caused a chain reaction that left bags sprawling across the walk, almost ruined a perfectly pressed suit, and nearly caused a series of painful bruises or worse.
“Yes, I am fine…I think.”
Could I have imagined mercy and concern in a city where nobody seems to hold this value in their day to day relationships? Is it possible that good can be found buried in the ugly and terrible? Should I be looking for something that is already around me instead of the unending quest for what I never really want to find?
The questions are obviously circular. We know, at least intellectually, that mercy and concern exists in the people around us; it just lies buried somewhere. We have read stories of good emerging from the muck; it is just so easy to forget. We say we search for God and things good; we know in the quietness of our hearts that the only thing we want to find is our “self” and make it god.
Some suggest that pain tells me that I am alive. It is true even though we spend much of our lives trying to avoid or relieve pain. Pain alerts the mind so that choices can be made to protect our physical and emotional beings from even greater harm. Pain is also the contrast that helps us see and understand beauty, love, and hope. The combination of beauty, love, and hope provides the foundation for growing and recreation. Yet, it is hope that we often find more illusive than the anything else.
Solomon found in his own life the folly of searching for what he did not want to find. In the end he said that “the perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here.” (Proverbs 17.24)
Could this true in your life and mine?