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There is something to be said about grabbing the camera, early in the morning, and really taking note of the bigger picture. I hope you enjoy the photos, as you read along today!! I found this piece, this story, which I am sharing with you, to be rather fitting and appropriate for my heart... in the season, in which I find myself, today. I hope it encourages you, just the same.
I read the story of a professor who entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited nervously at their desks for the exam to begin. The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over their papers. To everyone's surprise, there were no questions - just a black dot in the center of the paper.
The professor, seeing the expression on everyone's faces, told them the following: "I want you to write about what you see." The students were confused momentarily, but eventually they got started by writing a few things down. At the end of the test, the professor took all of the exams and started reading each one of them out loud in front of the students. All of them, without exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet.
After all had been read, the classroom grew silent and the professor started to explain: "I'm not going to grade you on this," he replied, "I just wanted to give you something to think about. Nobody wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot -- and the same thing happens in our lives...
We insist on focusing only on certain things -- the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything else we have in our lives, but those few issues are the ones that permeate our lives."
That story raises the question: What are you focusing on? Are you allowing yourself to see the whole picture, or are one or two things robbing you of peace and contentment?
The more we narrow our focus to that one thing, the bigger it becomes, crowding out the pleasant and desirable.
When a child hurts themselves, we often try to get their focus away from the pain and onto something pleasant. That doesn't mean the pain goes away but at least it doesn't get all of their attention.
Somehow, as adults, we forget to use this same formula we have used with our children, an instead of trying to keep the pain in the background we insist on bringing it to the forefront and sharing it with all who will listen.
You can probably repeat almost verbatim the aches and pains of the that coworker or family member who insists upon telling you how much everything hurts. It seems they have the mindset that if they can repeat it over and over often enough it will lighten the load. And, it should... that is what friends are for; but when you hear the same pity party enough of times it eventually becomes a black dot for even the best of listeners.
I believe the professor saw something that we all need to grasp. Life consists of many different experiences and circumstances. We can't ignore the difficulties and just sweep them under the rug, but when we give them undue regard and allow them to control us, we lose some of the joy other situations could bring
Perhaps we could liken the black dot to things and the blank sheet of paper to quietness and and stillness. When we focus on the quiet stillness that God brings in our lives, the other things become less noticeable and lose their importance. Allow your eyes to rest on the white space, the beauty, the joys and the blessings.
This doesn't mean that the black dots will completely disappear, but your focus and attitude about life will be greatly enhanced. ~ M. Gingerich (the fishwrapper, October 2016)
Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important and you will capture it perfectly every time. ~ unknown