Things are not always as they seem

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We drove up one hill and then down another as we indulged in another road trip. I treat myself to lots of sightseeing on these excursions while my husband mans the steering wheel. The scenery was awesome, and I discovered a sliver of reality that I had never evaluated before. Regardless of how a unit appears, it first began as a part of a whole entity.

Massive areas of farmland stretched before my husband and me. It spread for miles across the countryside. Then I began to see divisions in the breathtaking expanse of land. I disliked seeing my perfect scene disrupted. Subdivisions took shape along the way. Various types of fences separated them from the original large plot of earth I had previously viewed. Houses lined the way with wooden or metal partitions separating them. Often backyards were divided by a row of trees or shrubs. Nevertheless my single, undisturbed, stretched-out parcel of ground was spoiled. I pined for its restoration and rebelled at its interruption.

Streets provided a means of travel, but they also supplied yet another division. What started as one undisturbed section was now cut into all kinds of spaces. As I began to ponder how often we take a whole and make it into numerous parts, I thought of how people divide a building. I visualized the beginnings of a structure and pictured how a new house looks in its starting stages. It is turned into a home by various subdivisions. Walls separate the rooms for privacy. What was once a great, great room has now been turned into a home where someone turned one massive space into many different ones, according to his purpose and taste. Even without walls you can partition spaces by positioning various articles.

I then pictured various flowers and plants that are used to keep people at bay in theme parks and neighborhoods. Although they provide beauty, the natural borders serve another purpose -- to separate or divide.

A family is called a family, although it is composed of many people. Each person within the family possesses different traits, which cause more divisions. Separations, differences and rearrangements do not always cause unfavorable results, however.

Like the Christian song "We are many parts" suggests, "We are many parts but we are all one body." The song speaks of the Body of Christ, but the same holds true of various other entities that are divided and separated to make boundaries -- boundaries for the betterment of society. Even God made alterations. God made the world in seven days -- a division of time. He made a multitude of variations from nothing.

As I continued to contemplate how one can completely change the landscape of almost anything to make it into something else, I realized that although the expansive land was awesome to view, inserting borders to make a more worthwhile scheme was a better modification. Absorbing the truth that everything will eventually return to its original form changes the normal perception that things are, and will always be, as they presently seem.

Cities outgrow themselves and become ghost towns. Over time, the buildings rot and crumble and the once sturdy, unblemished streets turn back to dirt -- their original form.

I was forced to come to terms with the reality that eventually, I too, would return to the substance from which I was made -- dust.

For sure, except for God, things are never as they now, seem to be.

Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.

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