I have found that having brain surgery has one surprising benefit; I am willing to observe life instead of always trying to drive it. I do not think I am any less aggressive than before. I am still driven, but it is different. A post-surgery change is a willingness, interest, and fascination in observing what is going on around me. Seeing and experiencing life in the ordinary, mundane, and casual events of the day is as or more important as taking action, talking, or pushing my agenda. As I reflect on this way of engaging with life, I find that many of the heroes I hold close to my heart had/have a similar approach.
I am not sure the life today puts a high price of observation. We want people who will act! We also want them to be right, yet action is often valued over thoughtful planning. We need decisive leadership, even if it is simplistic, condescending, and arrogant. The old ways did not work, so anything new must be better. We demand action. Doing nothing is never the answer, even if we do not have any idea of how we will work together in solving the conundrums that we face.
When I meet someone who listens before imparting their wisdom, I find myself wanting to walk with them. The problem confronting us individually and collectively, are greater than any single person can solve! It is only in working together that we can understand and respond in a way that has some hope of making the world a better place. From my experience, I would note that observation appears to be a critical leading indicator of wisdom.
There is a common metaphor shared across the lives of those that observe. Each, in her or his way, describes their behavior this way; “Fascinated, I took it all in.” (Acts 11.6) Their wisdom is a mantra that can guide us in the reality of the present.
God invites us to watch Divinity in action. The invitation extends through to opportunities to act. From there, action is born.