Sometimes, it’s hard to see because its too dark. And we cannot hear because its too noisy.
But then, when the blindfold comes off and our ears listen carefully, we can see and hear into places we never thought of before. The darkness is revealed and we see, though dimly, the things we never expected or dreamed of seeing before. Suddenly, the cracks and crannies of life are revealed.
I’ve been seeing there lately. I didn’t expect to come to this place nor did I know it ever existed. I did not really mean to get here, but now, here I am. I’m seeing a bit of the dustiness, the messiness, and the dirt of life.
It is easy to look down on others for whatever–their drug addiction, the smell of smoke on their breath, the way that they limp, or even the holes in their clothes. It is easy to pity them and wonder how they got there. It is easy to dislike them or wrinkle your noise at the strange smell. I know I have been there and done that a thousand times, if only because I didn’t know what else to do.
But that was when I was on the surface. I could only see the surface–the hallow look, holes, the cigarette buts, and the limp. I couldn’t see past it, though I tried.
I’ve spent this summer working as a cashier in a Thrift store. You meet all kinds in there. It’s really an interesting little place for a writer-theatre-student-combination-of-a-girl. And its there, I’ve learned, that you begin to see the cracks and the crannies, in all their dirt and dustiness.
I see the hallow look on the worn face and smell the cigarette smoke. There’s a roughness in his eye and his bag reeks of marijuana when he hands it to me to keep while he shops–yes, I do wrinkle my nose at that. I see the man with the limp and the woman who asks politely for a deal because she’s coming out of a bad situation and the man who comes out of the dressing room with six shirts instead of eight. There are pushy people and others who don’t think I know how to be a cashier. There’s the men and women who come in to get free clothes for a new start at a new life and the kids who come to the front with their little wallets and buy video tapes and board games and stuffed animals. Oh, and there are the people who want deals and more deals and drive me absolutely crazy. There’s all kinds–more than I could ever write about here.
Yet now, when I see some of these people on the street on my way to work or in the mall or at the store again, I see them differently. I still don’t know most of their names or much about them at all–yet I realize that now instead of just judging them. Instead of looking on them with disdain or pity or indifference, I see them in a new light. I remember what they buy, what they always ask for, what they love in life. And I see them in that new way.
There’s the man who loves music and always buys CDs and the elderly lady who gets special things for her grandchildren. I see the man who always asks for hockey cards and the girl who likes new clothes. I see a woman who always buys gifts for her family, a lady who adores classical music, and families who may not have a lot of money but still want to buy nice things. And suddenly, the predispositions fly away and I remember their joy and I know them by their happiness, instead of their exterior looks.
Sometimes it’s a long way to the cracks and hard to breathe in the crannies, but I believe it is a place truly worth going. I admit that the surface is more comfortable and easy and that I can’t see people perfectly in the crannies. The surface seems like a clean, pretty place which we, as Christians, should work to bring the rest of the world to. Yet should we really stay in the surface? Because Jesus went into the cracks and crannies and talked to people and loved them just where they were. And while there is brokenness and pain in this place, I don’t know where we can go, save heaven, where there isn’t.
To tell you the truth, there is brokenness and pain in my life. So perhaps it is fitting to find myself in amidst the dust and the dirt. The surface doesn’t paint a real picture. We must dig deep and live in the cracks and learn in the crannies of life.