Close Up and Far Away

At mass this morning, I had to take off my glasses to read the words in the music program, but then put them on again to see the priests or the lector or really, anything past the chair in front of me, at least if I wanted to see any of that clearly.  Glasses on, glasses off has become a kind of rhythm for me at this stage of life as I am naturally near-sighted and habitually take in the many details of the things right in front of me, the things that others might miss, but for distance, I need the help of another lens, a larger view.

Help with the longer view is what today’s readings are all about. Like Jeremiah, I often sense “terror on every side,” and from time to time, need reminding about how “the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion.” There have been too many chapters where I’ve called out to God, “Lord, in your great love, answer me,” not at all sure that the Lord will, in fact, do it. 

So, today when the celebrant’s homily focused on fear, I knew the message was for me. When it comes to fear, I have a close-up view, and I’m accustomed to religious exhortations warning against fear as a lack of trust, or sinful, or a character flaw, not recognizing the role that our wiring and histories play in our tendency toward hypervigilance or fear.  As anyone with anxiety will attest, being afraid sure doesn’t feel like a choice, because who would ever choose that?

The Gospel today says that “even all the hairs of your head are counted,” and I’ve always taken that to mean that God, as a kind of super-computer brain, knows everything, but for the first time that scripture brought a new image to my mind, that of holding my baby boy when he was just a couple of months old.

When I held him, nursed him, comforted him, or when we played or read or sang, that baby boy was close enough to me that I really could count the hairs on his head. Now, it’s true that there weren’t many of those hairs back then, but I did have a close-up view of each one. That’s how near I was to him. And so maybe, when God tells us that all of our hairs are counted, it’s not because He dispassionately knows all of the facts, like how many leaves are on this tree or how many grains of sand are on that beach, but because He is holding us close enough to be able to count them. As He holds us and feeds us and comforts us, as we play and dance and sing together, God has a close-up view. 

So, when it comes to the long view, the future, the things that are far enough away that we might have trouble seeing them, maybe we can count on God’s view to be our helpful lens today, because He is already there. God already knows, and He is holding us close enough and personally enough and carefully enough to walk us through it today and in the future, too.

Known and loved, more than many sparrows, by a God who holds us today and in the places and times that we can’t quite see clearly yet. With His help, maybe we can rest in the knowledge that He holds us up close enough to His heart to see it all.

2 responses to “Close Up and Far Away”

  1. Melina Avatar

    How beautifully written, Kerry! And what a sweet and precious photo. God bless you for sharing and making me stop and think.

    1. kcampbell116 Avatar

      So glad it was helpful to you, thank you, friend!

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