The x-ray technician was wheeling me from the examination room to the radiology department for my surgery prescreening x-ray. Just as we turned the corner into the hallway, we passed a potted plant that had a little stuffed squirrel nestled among its branches.
“Look a squirrel,” I told him, expecting that he also had noticed the whimsical, unexpected animal.
“Oh that’s funny,” he said. “I’ve walked by here a hundred times, and I’ve never seen it before.”
“Well, you’re up there, and I’m down here,” I explained. “Maybe it’s easier to see down here.”
“Yeah, and I’m also trying to make sure I don’t run into any walls or knock off someone’s feet in the process,” he said.
All week I have been thinking about that squirrel, and thinking about all the other things I can see only when I am no longer in control, when I am being pushed around in a wheelchair by others and can see what they can’t because they are looking out for me.
“This is the essence of the sacramental,” Luci Shaw writes, in her book Breath for the Bones, “paying attention, noticing, discovering that material things remind us of – and point us to – the things we cannot see but that have ultimate and eternal reality and value.”
The past few weeks, I have been seeing life from a different perspective. I have been at the bottom, low and looking up, and I have been surprised at the things I have seen, all the ways God has shown himself to me, like the little squirrel peeking out of the potted plant. And I’m going to keep looking.
“God has a habit of surprising us with a vision of himself when we least expect it,” Luci said.
Only next time, I’m not going to be surprised.