Nexus February 2019
Sisters and Brothers of SAUMC,
I have shared often that I love bird-watching. On my last birding adventure I spotted a bird I had never seen before. It was a medium-size white bird with long legs wading in the water in search of food. I had my suspicions of what it was, and after checking my field guide on my phone it seemed like everything fit – size, features, feeding behavior, location, etc. – except, the bright-yellow feet at the end of its long, black legs. In fact, as my field guide stated, “it could be said to dance in the shallows on golden slippers.” I saw no golden slippers! Entranced and curious, I stopped and watched this majestic and very patient creature as it moved slowly glaring into the glistening water. Eventually the snowy egret bared its characteristic trait as it stepped high and long with each advancing move.
What I saw from a distance and without my binoculars was simply a white bird bearing no distinctive marks standing quite still in the water. However, what rested beneath the water was unexpected and beautiful. Unexpected because I’ve never seen a bird with different color feet than legs; beautiful because, indeed, those golden slippers danced in the shallows!
As birds and nature often are for me, this moment was enlightening. The plainness of the bird, the inability to see its characteristics from afar, and the hiddenness of its defining trait led me to see just a white bird. But when I saw the elegance of what rested beneath the water, I was led to see the bird anew. This led me to wonder how often do we “see” people from “afar,” how often do we not allow ourselves to “get close” enough to see the defining traits of the folks we meet, and how often do we just see the simple “plainness” of our neighbors?
Like this bird – and so many others – I believe that all people are beautiful creations of God, made in the likeness of our Creator. But it’s easy to – as I almost did – simply walk by what seems to be the “plainness” of others. What would it look like if we began to look for what rests beneath the water? What would it look like if we paused entranced and curious to see and find the golden slippers of everyone we meet?