Monday, May 21, 2012

Hidden Beauty in Tangled Messes

"So, from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view."
2 Corinthians 5:16

My neighbor hides. He climbs out from behind the wheel of his clutter-filled car each night and scrambles between tall grasses reaching sanctuary behind his faded back door. He lives behind sooted windows and torn curtains in a once pristine home now covered by overgrown branches and climbing weeds. Although it sits on a busy corner on Main Street, USA it's barely recognizable - distorted by unmown grasses five years tall and a maple tree border sown by spring winds. 

Surrounding neighbors complain, including yours truly. Fines pile up. Yet, nothing changes. Years ago we offered help. He refused. Pride, maybe? So, the trees between our properties grow taller and he continues seeking refuge behind that faded back door.

Each spring, if you squint, distort your vision just a bit, you'll catch a glimpse of beauty - pink cherry blossoms amongst the bramble, wild purple violets framing tree trunks, and yellow daffodils lining the moss covered sidewalk. This hidden beauty carries hope in the midst of all the tangled mess.

Others see it, too - offer a fair price - with dreams of restoration. He refuses every offer or simply ignores their calling card.

I wonder about him - start squinting, distorting my vision - watch him crawl out of his car and into his house. I'm ashamed to say I hardly know him and only catch bits and pieces of his story from life-long neighbors. On the outside, he's an immovable, miserable, muddled mystery, but the fact remains, he carries God's image. It's just hard to find.

Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 "So, from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

I've stopped complaining about my neighbor; resolved to report only things that pose a danger to himself or the public. Instead, God's changed my perspective and asked me to look for the hidden beauty that carries His hope, amongst the tangled mess of my neighbor's life.

Paul continues, "...through Christ {God} gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world, to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

What that looks like in this neighborly situation, I'm not sure, especially when he's refused all offers of help. But, this I know: God always sees beauty through the messes - regardless how miserable, muddled, or mysterious. He doesn't count these things against us (or my  neighbor), but desires our partnership in the ministry of reconciling and restoring his creation.

Lord, thank you for your endless grace and mercy in our lives that sees the beauty amidst our tangled messes. Distort our vision so that we can see your hidden beauty in others; may we see them from your perspective and not our worldly view. Move us {move me} to accept this mysterious partnership with you, through Christ, and carry your message of hope and reconciliation to whomever you place in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. This story reminded me so much of what God is teaching me currently Dawn. We are made in His image. May we say yes to His redemptive love daily, and pray for others. ~ Blessings, Amy