27 May 2008

Public displays of affection...

I pray that you and yours had a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. On Sunday, I went to Stone Mountain Park with a friend to do the five mile hike around the base of the mountain. Ok, WHAT WAS I THINKING? It was hot and crowded and hot and sweaty and hot...you get the picture. But it was exercise and it actually was a nice relaxing time spent getting to know this young man who just returned from Korea where he spent a year as a teacher and missionary. You can learn a lot about a person when you spend two hours in nature, walking around a mountain. We talked about a variety of topics and spent time "people watching" (one of my favorite activities - people just fascinate me). My friend greeted almost every person who passed us with a smile and, in most cases, with a hello. (And it there were a LOT of people in the park). One couple that fascinated me the most was this little old couple who were walking the path, holding hands. It was obvious that they had spent a lot of time together and were still affectionate towards each other, and were not ashamed to show their affection for each other in public.

My friend and I talked about public displays of affection during our walk. I have mixed feelings about it. Sometimes it's sweet, as in the display of the older couple. There is a sweetness to showing your connection with someone publicly - whether it is as simple as holding hands or stepping aside so one of you doesn't have to step off the path and into the street. But other times, my reaction was more along the lines of "get a room people". There was a young couple that was also walking around the park. They were all hugged up with no breathing room between them and my remark was, "it is way too hot out here for all of that!" AND besides, as my mother always admonished me when I was growing up, "always conduct yourself as a lady 'cause you never know who's watching you" (as I found out when I got to work this morning and our building security guard said to me, "I saw you walking at Stone Mountain this weekend.") Good thing I was behaving myself, huh?

So, all that got me to thinking. (surprise, surprise). How often are we on "public display" without knowing it? How many times have you seen someone doing something that you never expected them to be doing - and knew that they did not see you observing them? (You know - you see a teenager from church with a cigarette; or you see an elder/pastor from church coming out of an establishment where you probably think they don't belong) Would you act differently if you knew your mother was watching your EVERY move? Would knowing your children saw you do something you taught them was wrong stop you from your wrong behavior? If we knew our life was "on screen" for everyone to see, would we do all the things we do? Something to think about. But the reality is, there is Someone Who sees EVERYTHING you do...and I do mean, EVERYTHING! All the things you do in secret that you think no one knows about - He knows. I know He sometimes sits on His throne in heaven, looks at my foolish antics, shakes His head, sighs and says, "yeah, she's my favorite child, but I sure wish she would get it together." If I really was cognizant of the fact that He is watching everything I do, I probably wouldn't do most of the stuff I do - would you?

But switch it around. Does He ever publicly display His affection for us? ABSOLUTELY...ALL THE TIME! Have you ever seen a sunrise - or a sunset - or a rainbow? Have you ever been gently awakened by birdsong outside your window? Have you ever seen a full moon shine? Have you ever smelled a flower - or cut grass - or a gentle rain? Have you ever tasted a mango or strawberries or grapes? Have you ever touched cotton or the fur of an animal? He surely shows His affection for us every day when He wakes us up, but He shows it in other ways as well. We just have to stop, look around and see it.

I pray that today you can find time to see how God wants to publicly display His affection for you, and that you, in return, will do the same for Him. Your life should be a constant display of affection for Him.

Be blessed.

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