Friday, October 24, 2014

Waiting on the Shuttle in Moscow

Shuttle sign at Moscow airport.
We had just flown through the night from Atlanta to Moscow.  Our flight to Novosibirsk wouldn't leave until evening.  Tired and rumpled, we stood on the curb outside the airport waiting for the shuttle to take us to our hotel.  I glanced at the sign explaining how long the shuttle ran and at what intervals, then looked back up at it in surprise.  The schedule was spelled out clearly in a paragraph at
the top of the sign.  Below it a second paragraph repeated all the same information.  I studied it closely.  Surely one was for weekdays and the other for weekends.  But no...the details in both were exactly the same. 

"Why," I wondered, "would they print it twice on one sign?"  I continued to examine it, looking for at least some obscure difference between the two apparently identical blurbs.  

I'm embarrassed to admit how long I poured over the words before I realized my mistake and finally truly saw what I was looking at. 

Novotel Shuttle Schedule at Sheremetyevo in Moscow
Novotel shuttle schedule at Sheremetyevo in Moscow.
Two paragraphs did indeed describe an identical shuttle schedule.  But they used two different languages - English and Russian - which means two different alphabets - Latin and Cyrillic.  While they provided the same information, they used completely different words and symbols.  They weren't anything alike.  The first paragraph LOOKED very different from the second.  But I didn't see it.


I had processed the details in both paragraphs, but never truly saw the paragraphs themselves: never saw the different shapes of the letters, never saw that the words and phrases were expressed differently, each with a beauty all its own...

And I'm afraid there are other things I'm so used to seeing (or maybe so tired? or indifferent?) that I just don't see them anymore. My brain takes in information, but I don't see what I'm looking at: the wonder, the uniqueness, the beauty, the glory.  

How often do I do this, not seeing what I'm seeing?

Not seeing my kids?  My husband?  My friends?  Beauty or pain around me?  The verse I'm reading?...God?

 I don't want to have "eyes that are ever seeing but never perceiving"(Mark 4:12, Is. 6:9-10).  I want to really see.  Even if it takes more effort.  Even if it's painful.  

Sometimes it IS more difficult.
Sometimes it DOES require being willing to face pain.
But often, I just need to be willing...to see.              

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