Perhaps you’ve noticed that I love spring.
Recently a friend pulled near a branch laden with cherry blossoms in order to take a close-up picture of the intricate beauty. What she didn’t realize at the time was how the camera was also capturing the background. The result? A stunning photo of the individual flower in the foreground with sharp contrast to the distant whole tree providing a gently blurred backdrop.
The shot reminds me of how focus matters.
I recall the professor of a brain and behavior course I took a few years ago using the analogy of a spotlight. He told us that when we key in on one topic, our mind illuminates that thought and other subjects fade from immediate awareness. Made sense to me.
But so does a perspective I heard about from my pastor last weekend. He shared this quotation from Frank Lauback, a missionary and founder of a seminary in the Philippines.
In a letter dated March 30, 1930 Lauback proposed: “…are there periods when business, and pleasures, and crowding companions must necessarily push God out of our thoughts? ‘Of course, that is self-evident. If one thinks of God all the time, he will never get anything else done.’ So I thought too, until now, but I am changing my view. We can keep two things in mind at once. Indeed we cannot keep one thing in mind more than half a second. Mind is a flowing something. It oscillates. Concentration is merely the continuous return to the same problem from a million angles. We do not think of one thing. We always think of the relationship of at least two things, and more often of three or more things simultaneously. So my problem is this: Can I bring God back in my mind-flow every few seconds so that God shall always be in my mind as an after image, shall always be one of the elements in every concept and percept? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering this question.”
As I consider my new job with reams of new information saturating my brain cells, am I willing to intentionally invite God into this learning curve? When I observe a hummingbird suspended mid-air will I choose to thank God for the mysteries of His creations? Will I routinely listen to the Spirit and ask for His guidance as I navigate conversations?
And in all the moments that reside within this “mind-flow,” will I allow God to be in the foreground of my awareness?
I, too, want to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering these questions.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst