Friday, January 15, 2010

Quote discipline Day 5

A person's mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.

Oh, how true is that...

I went to Sydney, Australia over New Years weekend. It's a long story how I ended up just spending a weekend in a place that's so expensive and far away from everything - but it was more than worth it. Most of my time there was spent sleeping, playing with a rambunctious and brainy 5-year old, and catching up with dear friends. I also met some of their Arabic friends who live there, and ate yummy food. A perfect weekend getaway.

What I did not do while there was tourism. I got to know my friends' flat very well, saw their car and the freeway, explored their neighbourhood one morning. But I didn't really see Sydney the city, with the exception of one afternoon when my friends decided that a first-time visit to the famously exciting and glamourous capital merited a bit of sight-seeing. We took the train into downtown and walked around one of its premiere harbours.

Since my friends had only recently moved there, it was their first tourism jaunt in Sydney as well. They, like me, have seen a lot of the world and their minds have been stretched almost beyond recognition. So as we wandered around the world-famous harbour, we couldn't help but look at each other and nod. We were unimpressed. It's a city.

Oh, to be able to spring back the mind to the tight and fresh, unstretched mass my mind was when I was just a babe. To visit Kuala Lumpur and be fascinated by the existence of this exotic fruit Durian and eager to taste it - to have that new experience even if it does smell like dung vomit. To hear the music in Bali and just sit back and soak in its exotic soothing massage to the ears. To devour, and then beg the recipe of, each new food made by a coworker from a different region of Indonesia. But my mind just feels a bit too stretched. The beautiful things I've seen have made it hard to appreciate more and new beautiful things.

I once heard a Ravi Zacarias message in which he talked about how God has the heart of a child. If you do something pretty-nifty and show a 5-year-old kid, she or he will ask you to do it again. Then again. Then again. They're mesmerised by each awesome thing they see and do. God is like that: he created this beautiful thing called a sunrise, and he loved it. So he asked for another. Then another. Today, countless sunrises later, he still hasn't tired of the beauty of that moment.

Oh, how I want this quote to not be true. With God's grace, perhaps it can be negated.

And while I'm not big on sunrises (on account of their happening so early in the day), I do never tire of beautiful sunsets. And here in Agam, West Sumatra, those come almost every day.

1 comment:

Mom said...

I think there are a number of ways that we interface with the world, only one of which is with our mind. When we see something new, we not only think about it, but we may also "sense" it, touch it, and be touched by it, in more than just tactile ways. That is, we can be impacted by a new stimulus (physical or conceptual)not only cognitively, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

The author of this quote may be right-- that once we have been exposed to a new idea, our thinking may never be the same again. But I don't think that necessarily means we can never be impacted by new things with the same intensity as we were the first time we came into contact with them. I think we can be swept away by something beautiful, or saddened by something tragic, with the same fulness of feeling if we allow that stimulus to go beyond our mind-- to our heart, and even to our soul.

I believe this for two reasons: They are 1)as people get older, they seem to grow in their ability to spontaneously cherish the joys that are associated with "simple" things. Watch a grandparent with his grandchild, or an elderly person receive Christmas carolers at his door, and you may see an authentic, even naive, response of glee and gratitude (and we know it's not because they have never seen a baby, nor heard a Christmas carol sung, before; 2) Jesus told us that if we didn't become like little children, we would never enter the Kingdom of heaven. If it were not possible to experience Him and all He allows into our lives with the "first blush" of a child, He wouldn't have made it a prerequisite for entering the Kingdom.

I think having one's mind stretched with new ideas is a good thing. I think keeping one's heart soft and tender is even greater.

Love you!

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