Some people do not go to the doctor out of fear of what the doctor might find. Professional counseling is sometimes avoided because of worry about what might be uncovered. Newspapers go unread and television news is not watched in order to steer clear of bad news. Some folks will not even look in the mirror, afraid of what they might see. Because of an unwillingness to look at what is really going on, there could be much in our lives that is going unrecognized.
Jesus knew well our reluctance to take an honest look at ourselves, so he says, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” (Luke 6:39-45) In other words, from time to time, it is important to take a look at what is going unnoticed in our lives. Health professionals tells us early detection of an illness is the key to better health and perhaps even a cure. There may be things in our lives that we are not detecting, that, if not recognized, could bring great harm to ourselves or others.
What is going unrecognized in our lives that needs to be looked at? In our relationships with others, what might we be denying because it is too painful to acknowledge? What issues are we skirting or protecting ourselves from because they seem too threatening to take on? What obstacles might be creating a distance between us and God? Where might we need reconciliation?
Sirach says, “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had.” (Sirach 27:4-7) How are we caring for ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually? What is feeding these lives God has given to us? Lent begins on Ash Wednesday this coming week. This Lent can be a time of looking at what may be going unrecognized in our lives. It is an opportunity for us to feed and care for the trees of our lives. Participation in the many Lenten activities available in the parish could provide just that opportunity for our lives to be nourished.
Removing the wooden beams of what we have been afraid of seeing could be the beginning of lives that flourish like beautiful trees which have been well cared for.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector