By Judith Costello
When I first met Jurgen, I noticed, he was always studying the sky. He explained, “We miss so much of God’s message to us because we spend most of our time looking down.”
It’s true. At our house, we have been so busy lately, going from one activity to the next, that I can’t remember noticing anything except the large numbers of half-consumed water bottles in my car! And there are also the food wrappers, the Google maps and assorted clutter. My car is a disaster.
Oops! I lost track of where I was going with this! I forgot I was talking about the sky.
Jurgen used to remind us all the time that we were missing the wake-up calls from God to get our priorities straight. We would all be in the car, two kids, two adults and a barking dog. The arguing would start and then Jurgen would say, “Hey, look out your windows, you’re missing the real stuff.”
He has always been right, of course. The shapes of the clouds, the majesty of the trees and the delicate details of the earth are all reminders of God’s loving presence.
A young man asked me recently why God would make “useless gourds.” We saw a patch of old, dried-up ones while we were walking on a pilgrimage during Lent. I asked the boy if he’d seen those gourds when they are fresh. They look like miniature pumpkins in fields of massive green leaves. They are beautiful.
It was a reminder that God not only gives us the sustenance we need, but he also gives us eye candy and soul food. When we look up and look around, we can’t help but see evidence of a planned, generous creation.
When Jurgen would invite us to look up he was pointing at something truly inspiring. And without his attention to the details of creation we would have missed seeing a herd of antelope running across a field. Or a hollowed out tree that had been struck by lightening, or a bird with long legs running alongside the road or some amazing sunsets.
One day, we were in the middle of finalizing another school project. There were tensions in the air. Frayed nerves. Jurgen called out, “Come and see this sky.”
He stood holding the door open and the kids and I dutifully ran outside, expecting, perhaps, to see the full moon coming up on the horizon. But the sky was still blue. No clouds. No breeze. Nothing unusual.
“What are we looking at?” I asked.
“We are just taking a break and looking up. Isn’t it beautiful?” he said. That’s when I knew that Jurgen’s awareness of God’s touch goes far beyond just acknowledging creation.
Nowadays, Jurgen doesn’t call us outside very often. He needs oxygen support and his health is poor. The challenge of dealing with an aging body has fallen heavily on his shoulders.
It must be my turn to start saying, “Look up or you’ll miss something amazing.”
So I want to share Jurgen’s message with others. God has surrounded us with clear, irrefutable evidence that he cares for us. In all the fragile tenderness and awesome power of the earth, we can know him.
As I write this, a kitten sleeps in my lap. When I move, she looks up. And I am reminded to look up too.