"Do you see it?"
"Look," The guide had gone out of his way to stop the vehicle just so I could see a sloth. Now he was pointing at something high at the trees.
"I feel blind," I told him, and he pulled me close that my line of vision would follow his arm, follow his index finger, follow an invisible thread toward the leaves and the supposed sloth. I eventually saw a fluff ball, something, sitting between a Y-shapped branch.
Earlier, Koren, had led my mom and I on a floating safari and at one point had asked if we smelled something.
"That's monkey," he says.
I was quick to look up and I remember seeing 3 black balls of fluff, similar to the sloth I saw now, but I hadn't been certain. A little later on the same tour we smelled monkey again. This time he stopped the boat, pulling us ashore by a hanging vine, and we spent about ten minutes watching a family of monkeys swing from tree to tree. Koren made noises with the paddle, then mimicked the monkeys themselves, in order to get them to move around. I admired the scene although I admit I also feared we would be making these monkeys mad enough to throw their poop at us if we weren't careful.
We moved on.
A bobbing brown head proved to be a sea otter. Or I suppose a river otter? Spikes in the branches proved to be large iguanas.
'Am I blind?' I asked myself. 'Or is it that I just don't recognize what I am looking at?'
A pastor raised the point to say that if Jesus had to use Scripture to combat temptation (Luke 4:1-13), you can be assured that we will need to do the same. That is, it is not a suggestion; it is not something we ought to do. It is something on which our very survival depends!
I say this about the Bible because I think it's what will help us see things for what they are. We read about what the Devil is like (that rascal and his schemes against us!), so we can focus on the truth that Jesus came to give us real life. We read about the fall of man and recognize how important it is to flee from Satan and not try to reason with him. We begin to see people as God sees them; with a potential to be children of God. I think I'll steal from Lord of the Rings, my current book obsession:
"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end, and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many--yours not least."
Once we start to adjust our vision.. once we realize what we are looking at.. we won't feel as blind anymore.. we'll recognize that sloth in any tree we pass by on the jungle Costa Rican road.*
*yeah.. not there yet!!