I wonder if I’m the only literal person in the world who has been amazed by the pictures in the Dr. Seuss book of Green Eggs and Ham. (If these pictures weren’t under copyright, I would love to include them here.) The story has a discussion between Sam, the character pushing green eggs and ham, and a nameless hero.
The most amazing illustrations in this book are the characters on the train. The first page that the train appears is when Sam’s car is falling from a tree. It looks like a collision with the train is inevitable, but no one on the train notices! Each occupant has their eyes sweetly closed and unchanging smiles plastered on their faces.
No one notices the near crash. Nor do they seem to hear the heated argument taking place as the car has landed above them. In the tunnel, in the rain…they are unaware of it all.
Even when the train tracks abruptly end, and they go catapulting through the air toward a boat, there is a noticeable lack of concern! At this point, the train is upside down, crashing, and everyone is still placidly smiling with their eyes shut!
I understand the temptation that these characters felt. I too have been tempted to shut my eyes! Shut it to the disturbing things around! Shut it to the scenes that would break my heart! Bury my head in the sand. Protect my heart.
I get it.
In some way, I identify with these comical characters that Theodor Seuss Geisel drew.
My favorite is when the whole train comes apart. They all land in the water with a little wreckage, and the most you see is pleasant boredom.
Were they that oblivious of the struggle going on? Were they caught up in their own thoughts? “Peacefully oblivious” seems to describe it.
I’m not wanting to live in terror and anxiety, but neither do I want to live unmindful to the struggles around me. I don’t want to miss out on the signs of distress in my neighborhood. I don’t want to miss the signs of the time while I plot what I’m going to have for supper. I can’t afford not to pull and pray while there’s still a chance for those I care about. I can’t afford to miss the times of visitation by the Spirit.
I don’t want the entire world turning upside down and crashing all around while I’m unseeing…unknowing…uncaring.
I’ve never professed to be like one of those wise people mentioned in Esther 1:13 “which knew the times,” or those children of Issachar that I Chronicles 12:32 said “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
But I want to open my eyes. I want to see.