At nearly every major intersection crossing the divided four-lane in my town there are remembrances for people who have died in car accidents. I'm sure you have them as well. At some of those intersections abides more than one memorial commemorated with make-shift crosses bearing the names of those who perished. I actually hate to see these monuments because they make me sad. They make me remember that someone died there and I don't like being constantly reminded but, if it gives the families of those who died some peace, then I am more than happy to see them. But as I contemplate these incidences that took someone's life, I am forced to be more careful, to remember that we should never become lazy in issues of safety, and I guess that in and of itself is a good thing. Then I considered what could have been done differently so that the accident might never have occurred and people would not have died. The only thing I can come up with is that in every incident someone perhaps was not watching. Not watching carefully enough. Not watching steadfastly enough. Not watching for the other person. Not watching their speed. Not watching what they were doing. Not watching at all maybe. And then I think if they had just been watching better, whether the person who was at fault or the person who became the victim or even both, then maybe it might not have happened. I know not everything can be prevented by watching, but somehow I can't help but think it would've made a difference in most of these fatal accidents.
As I passed no less than six memorials en route to my destination that day, I began to ponder the act of watching. It seems as though in this day and time we are always watching for something. When we go to the store or the movies or out to eat, we are watching over our shoulder to make sure we are not the victim of an attack. When we drive we are watching for others (or maybe watching for police so as not to get a ticket for speeding!). We are watching our neighbors to make sure they do not do something suspicious that we'd have to report in the possibility (no matter how slim it might be) there might be something illegal going on that would harm us or others. We have neighborhood "watches" that incorporate the entire community to be on watch for questionable acts. We are watching activity on our electronic devices to insure our protection there. We are living in a day where life has gotten scarier and scarier and watching has become the norm. Day in and day out, we engage in the act of watching and do not even consider the alternative, for to do so just might mean disaster.
I am constantly reminding my kids to be watchful. Even though they are now grown and perfectly responsible adults, I continue to remind them. I tell my daughter who lives in Central America always be watching; never become complacent. I tell my daughter who lives in a large metropolitan city to watch out for this and that and everything in between. I remind my son to watch his speed (he drives entirely too fast). Yes, for me and everyone else I know, watching has become part of an ordinary day. But in case you are one of those who think that we are the only generation who has had to watch, think again. I am reminded of the families who lived during the Civil War and the constant fears that each day brought for them. They never knew when soldiers might enter their home and slaughter their entire family. Even if they were watching and saw it coming, there was not always something they could do to prevent it. I can only imagine the fear of that time in history. I think of the ones who lost it all in the Great Depression, not just their money but their sanity as well and how, regardless of how much watching they did, there was nothing they could do to change the outcome. I think of the terror that living during the holocaust brought and the fear of being found if you were Jewish, because it most certainly meant imprisonment or death. When I think back about these times in history where, just like us, people were constantly watching, I am also reminded that watching is not always a guarantee for things to come out right. But every generation has had its fears to conquer and watching is as much a part of the human condition as eating or sleeping.
But just in case you might be thinking this blogpost is a Debbie Downer, let me reassure you that it is not. Yes, it is a reminder to be watchful of those things around you because watching just might spare you a boatload of trouble or harm or even spare your life, but it's also to encourage you to be watching for the good as well in this world. No matter how bad it gets, things could always be worse and there is always good to focus upon. In this season of hope, I pray that you'll see and experience some of that good...the acts of kindness done by one to another...the joy of a new marriage or a newborn baby...the goodness of a meal around the table with friends...the hope of yet another Christmas morning as you're surrounded with family. And, just as we are reminded of the fears of this present day when we turn on the news or see a makeshift memorial along the highway, we are also reminded there are signs of hope everywhere.
But a small hint for finding the good that is sometimes overshadowed by the evil and heartache in this world...
You, my friend, have to be watching for it. Happy Saturday!
Posted by CC
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