Thanks, Marcia Laycock, for your guest blog!
“Who are you?”
The woman’s eyes were cold. By the time I said my name her eyes had flicked away, scanning the room for someone of more significance. She had already dismissed me. I watched her from time to time, moving about in the crowded room. It seemed there were few people of significance there. Her eyes kept roaming. Sometime later a mutual friend tried to introduce us again. “Who are you?” she asked. I didn’t answer. She didn’t notice.
Most of us have been treated that way at one time or another. Some people are slightly more skilled at this art of dismissal, but the effect is the same. Those they encounter are left feeling insulted. On the other hand, most of us have met people who can make a person feel as though she is the only one in the room worthy of their attention. Their eyes never waver. They leave you feeling encouraged and sometimes even blessed.
Canadian author Lorna Crozier is quoted as saying – “Every time you pay attention, you praise.” I thought of this quote the other night when my daughter arrived home in the middle of one of my favourite television shows. She and her friends bounced into the room, noisy with laughter. I kept telling them to be quiet, never taking my eyes off the television screen. Eventually they left.
It wasn’t until later that I realized what I’d done. My sin was as great, or greater than the sin of that woman with the roaming eyes. I had failed to pay attention and I had done the opposite of praise. Though my daughter laughed at me that night, she had every right to feel insulted. Though I did not show her the respect she deserved, she gave me a hug before bed that night and had a smile in the morning. She’s a good kid. Sometimes I don’t deserve her.
Unfortunately my daughter isn’t the only one I ignore. I often go through the day without taking any notice of the blessings around me. They don’t register because I do not realize their significance. They have become too familiar – the rain that nourishes the ground, the green grass and ripening fields that feed us, the fat cattle grazing behind good fences. And the people go unnoticed too – the mailman who stops on my street every day, the policeman patrolling in his car, the neighbour who always waves. I’ve failed to pay attention and I’ve failed to praise.
When we fail to praise those things and those people, we fail to praise the God who created them. We are like that woman whose eyes kept moving – we are telling God He just isn’t significant enough. We want someone a little more interesting, please. Psalm 48:1 says – “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.” He’s a good God. We don’t deserve Him. But He’s always ready to smile upon us, always ready to bless us. Maybe it’s time we started paying attention.