In Andy Andrews’ book The Noticer I was introduced to a character named Jones. Jones is a mysterious individual. Nobody knows where he lives. He never takes people up on their offers to spend the night at their home and he doesn’t even know when he was born. Who is this guy? Jones is a unique soul. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” he explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. “Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely,” he says. “Don’t squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever.”
That got me to thinking about what we notice…..and don’t notice each day. For example, I pretty much travel to and from work the same way each day. A lot of the time I kind of feel like I’m on “auto pilot” as I make the short commute in the morning and afternoon. Before I know it, I’m at my destination. I’ve gone by much but haven’t really noticed much at all.
Some years back I remember that we were looking for a new mailbox cover. Normally, each day I would drive past any number of mailbox covers but never notice them. However, when we were looking for mailbox covers I noticed them in all their shapes and sizes. Same thing happened with cars – I drive a Subaru Forester. In the past, I didn’t pay any attention to the model of cars on the road. Now though, I pick out all the Subaru Foresters on the road.
One more example. When the gas prices started to drop a few months ago I stared noticing the price each morning on the way into work and then again on the way home, something I continue to do. The prices would never be the same from morning to evening. Prior to this I never paid any attention to the prices. It’s nothing I can control after all – we’re going to pay whatever the price happens to be. Each day the prices creep down a penny or two per gallon and then out of nowhere they jump up twenty cents or more. Amongst all of the other things I could be noticing, I now notice the price of gas.
Jones says that what you focus on increases, and that many of life’s treasures remain hidden because we never search for them. What are you not focusing on in your life? Perhaps a better question is who are you not focusing on? Here’s a few things we might want to notice:
- God’s creation all around us – birds singing, flowers and trees blooming…that beautiful sunset or the full moon
- The person walking in the rain or cold who may need a ride
- Your neighbor that might need assistance with their yardwork
- The singles in your church
- The widows/widowers in your church
- The elderly in your church
- The person standing in the foyer at church all alone – perhaps they are a first time visitor?
- Where you parked your car at the mall (if not, you’ll wander around with your key fob in the air trying to honk your horn)
What would you add to this list?