Remember to look up

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Heading out for a day in New Orleans always proves interesting. Mike and I purchased our Toyota there and usually take a little excursion when our car needs servicing.
Today, the weather was brisk with not a cloud in the sky so our ride across the lake was especially lovely with the sun shimmering on the water. Seagulls flying overhead never fail to call to remembrance “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and his epic struggle to overcome mediocrity. I don’t remember the year in high school when we studied it, but the story made an impression on my young mind, which stays with me even today.
Searching for beauty and wonder in our day-to-day lives can become a tedious task if we keep our eyes on the problems and challenges we all face. But if we choose to look up even in our mind’s eye we can observe the beauty that God designed. One glimpse at the majesty our Heavenly Father has graced us with can set our hearts and minds above. I remember such a time.
After the great storm called Katrina people were dealing with horrific devastation and loss. This brought out the ugly in a lot of folks and the beauty in others. Stress will show what is in our hearts, and I was amazed at the dividing line I saw in people that I thought I knew. It was so eye opening and surprising to see their true colors come to the surface.
People who usually quietly stayed in the background stepped up and overcame their natural shyness in order to help their neighbors, friends, and even strangers.
By the same token, others removed their smiling masks. They manipulated people and circumstances to get their own way never thinking of those around them.
The interesting thing about this phenomenon was that many I thought were upstanding I found to be lacking in character.
Others proved that you really can’t judge by outward appearances. The good in people from all walks of life shone very brightly at a dark time in our lives.
One evening my family was getting pretty worried because some of the ugly folks had stolen gas from our cars in the night. There was no way of knowing how we could get more fuel and our only food source at this time was what “Hand of Hope” and other organizations that trucked into town.
We needed our gas because it was several miles to the distribution center, and the heat made it almost unbearable to walk there.
My family and I relaxed in the backyard pondering our circumstances and awaiting the evening’s reprieve from the August heat.
We tried to convince ourselves that the small amount of petrol left after the robbers helped themselves would last until the calvary came.
With all these thoughts came uncertainty and anxiety leaving us sorely in need of peace, and comfort. As night fell the majestic beauty of the ebony sky bursting with twinkling lights fairly assaulted our eyes. In our distress we had forgotten to look up; always look up.

By Jan Penton Miller

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