Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18
It was on my bucket list. I confess. I am a pretty big fan of America. I mean, even with all of its warts, and there are plenty, with all its flaws, surely a bucket full, it is the best place to live. Over the years I have visited some twenty-five countries—some in Europe, some in Asia and some in Africa. Some were affluent, some were poor, and some were somewhere in between. All had something to offer but none could match this land I call home. While some of my visits were brief, my wife Judy and I lived three years in Germany and the final word was…wait for it…home is better…there is and was no place like home.
I think the secret to learning to appreciate where you live is to learn to look for the good and not bad, the whole and not the broken. The way we look at things can vastly change how we experience things. A few days ago, I mentioned a quote from a movie that I had watched which, by the way was based on a true story. The guy said, “There are two ways to live—either nothing is a miracle or everything is a miracle.” He opted for the latter and I think I will too.
Several weeks ago, we were out West on a trip with part of our tribe. The main, but not only, destination was to see Mount Rushmore. I’ve seen a chunk of America, but I hadn’t see that…and yes, it was on my bucket list. So, the day came. As we drove toward the monument, suddenly, around a curve we were face to face, if you will, with Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson and Lincoln and it was amazing. We parked the car and frankly, the closer we got, the more amazing it became.
This amazing tribute to America (no, it wasn’t just a tribute to four men) took over fourteen years to build. As you keep in mind it was about ninety years ago, then you begin to appreciate the vision, work and skill that it took to turn a mountain into a monument. I was amazed to learn that many of the workers, who often had 12 hour days, were paid about $14 dollars…a week. Those were hard times, and they were grateful to have a job. But for many…the job became a passion…a mission…a cause to believe in.
Somewhere along the journey, they stopped seeing a mountain and began to see presidents. Somewhere along the journey they began to see what Gutzon Borglum saw. While the project wasn’t his idea (that belongs to a guy named Doane Robinson) he was the one that chose that mountain. The quality of the stone led him there and, honestly, where others saw just a mountain, he saw presidents. He.Saw.Presidents.
So, perhaps, just perhaps, it does matter what we see around us. Perhaps if we chose to see miracles…or like Borglum to see monuments where others see just a block of stone, perhaps we can help make this world a better place. Perhaps our lives, regardless of our messy circumstances or what seems to be hot mess, will take on a deeper meaning and a deeper purpose. Perhaps if we learn that it is not about us but about others…things will change…for the better.
One of the writers in the Old Testament part of the Bible said that when people don’t have a vision, when they choose to see desolation rather than miracles, well, they perish. It is true individually and it is true corporately. If we are going to see a better world, two things need to happen. First, we need to learn not to just see a mountain but what that mountain can become. Secondly, and this one is for God followers, we need to believe again that with God nothing is impossible. As we stand on the edge of the new normalcy, with that stinking COVID in the rearview mirror, let’s choose to believe again. And why stop there? Why don’t we determine to see presidents where others see mountains and believe that, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne