SEEING IS BELIEVING
Knowing that I am a preschool teacher it is no surprise that I love picture books.
While others are reading historical novels, theology or science fiction I am enjoying the rhyming words, fantasy and illustrations found in short stories by authors such as Jan Brett, Mary Ann Richmond and Ezra Jack Keats. While the text is simple, some would say very basic, the details are often in the illustrations for the reader to discover on his own. In an adult book one can skim the pages and come away with the gist of the story. If you read a picture book you must s-l-o-w down and scan the illustrations for the details of the story. Jan Brett’s book, “The Mitten” is a good example. This is a story about a boy, Nicki, whose grandmother reluctantly knit him a pair of white mittens. She feared that if Nicki dropped one of his mittens he would not find it in the snow. Sure enough, Nicki unknowingly did drop one of his mittens in the snow. One by one, various forest animals found the mitten and crawled in to stay warm. Although the text does not tell us, as the pages of the story are turned the artwork shows us Nicki dropping the mitten, playing in the snow with only one mitten and finally discovering he is missing one mitten. Unknown to Nicki, eight animals crawled into the mitten as it laid in the snow, stretching it to many times it’s original size. The last visitor, a mouse, caused the bear to sneeze and all the animals exploded out of the mitten which then flew into the air. Only in the pictures do we see the animals sprawled out on the forest floor. At last we see Nicki spying his mitten, grabbing it and running home to show grandmother that he still has his mittens. The last page of the story is wordless. We see grandmother holding the mittens, one small and one very large, in her hand with a questioning look on her face. Nicki is sitting by the fire with his back to grandmother. The reader is left wondering if either of them ever learned of the animal adventure in the forest.
Looking for the details …….that is something we can do from the moment we wake each day until the time we fall in bed at night. When our feet touch the floor and we greet the day we should be awake to the world around us. Although the frustrations and difficulties we encounter daily can dominate our thoughts we can see God’s constant presence as we look for the positive details around us. That snow is heavy to shovel but the beauty of the snowflake is amazing. A colleague’s comment is degrading but we know we are one of God’s children, loved just as we are. When a smile comes our way, when we taste hot coffee in the morning, when a cardinal comes to the feeder or a squirrel performs a gymnastic feat to get to that same feeder we know God is there wanting us to smile and see Him in our day. He loves us! Seeing is believing. Look for signs of his love all day and teach your children to look. Believe in God’s love. It is real! . When we are quiet and watching, God finds an opportunity to speak to us or point out the answers to our prayers.
A couple years ago I was challenged by a Face Book friend to name three blessings at the end of each day for a week. What a blessing it was to end each day looking back at all the positive events of the day. God was present in my day, whether I looked for signs of it or not. It was up to me to see the details and thank him for his love. I challenge you to end your day naming at least three blessings. It will help you see your day in a different, more positive way.