Observations About Observation

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Sometimes I like to sit back and observe. Sometimes the thing I most like to do when relaxing is to just watch something or someone. Maybe it’s a strange hobby. Maybe it’s a little crazy, but I like to do it.

Today on the bus, I was just listening to my music and staring out the window. The only thing about me that moved were my eyes as they darted back and forth, staring at every little thing that passed by. It’s a shame, really, when you think about how much detail you miss every day. I mean, I almost missed my stop because I was looking out at the little creek right near my house. I go by there almost every day of my life, and yet I still found it interesting.

But buses aren’t ideal circumstances for observation. The best way is to take walks. I don’t walk as much as I wish I did, although there’s a reason for that. While I like relaxing and just looking at things, I also like doing it with someone else. It gets boring after a while when you’re by yourself. And while I listen to music when I’m alone, it’s just not the same. It’s just so much better when you can walk with someone else and just talk about anything that comes into your head. I wish I had someone to do that with, but most people are just too busy to just go and take a walk for no particular reason.

I’m not really sure why this observation appeals to me. I mean, it doesn’t even matter what I’m looking at; it could be a building, a person walking down the street, or a chipmunk in a park. The point is that no matter what you’re looking at, there’s so much detail that you can get from just that one object, it’s astounding. You can watch a tree blowing in the wind. You can see an animal scurrying away to store its food. People are the best, though. The problem with that is that it’s somewhat freaky to see someone staring at you, so I try to keep that to a minimum. It’s so interesting, though. It’s almost like a guessing game. Try to figure out where they shop based on what they’re carrying, what they’re wearing, or whatever else. Try to figure out how they would talk if they were to come up and start a conversation with you. Figure out how they got certain characteristics; for instance, if they have a limp, make a guess about how they got that. I mean, you’re never going to be right 100% of the time, but the fun is in the thinking about it. Let your imagination run wild.

This, along with my passion for writing, is the biggest reason why I don’t think I could ever survive as an accountant – my imagination would get stale. I mean, I’m not saying that accountants can’t have fun or anything, but sometimes I just need to do something to stimulate any remaining functioning part of my brain. I seriously considered becoming an accountant, but it just seems like too monotonous of a job to get into. There’s no variety, and I need variety – but all within an encompassing routine. It’s strange, really. I like structured variety – things that are different, but consistently different. It’s one of the reasons why psychology appeals to me. I’d be working with people, and all people are unique and different, but they’re still all people. I’d get people from all different areas of life who come from all different backgrounds. Endless and countless circumstances shaped who they are today, and that character they’ve developed also shapes the circumstances they experience. It’s an intense interrelationship between the internal and external – character meets environment, and both help shape the other.

I can really understand why God loves people so much. There’s so much variety; He’d never get bored of just watching the people He created running around on this blue and green ball that He holds in His hand. And though so much of the things these people do make Him sad, His love for them burns on with an even greater passion. He wants to know each and every one of them intimately, and although He already knows everything about them already, He never tires of watching them interact with the world He created for them. I love thinking about that. It makes me think about just how insignificant I am, and yet how much God loves me all the same.

A while ago, I tried an experiment. Since I ride home on the bus every day, I see a lot of interesting faces. One day, as I was sitting on the bus just watching people, it hit me: God shaped each and every person just the way they are, and He loves each one of them so much. The utter profoundness of this statement hit me like running into a big brick wall. So for a while, I decided that each time I saw a person who was a little out of the “normal” group and I was tempted to chuckle to myself for what they looked like or how they acted, I would mentally say to myself, “Hey: God created this person exactly the way they are, and He loves them more than anything you can imagine.” Each time I thought this, a smile came to my face as I realized that I was called to love these people too. God loves me so much, and the very least I can do is show that love to others. To put it another way, God shows His love to people nowadays through the people that decide to pass God’s love on to them. God can use you and me to show His love to other people. Isn’t that awesome?

I’ll admit, I’ve gotten away from this experiment I mentioned. And I admit, it’s still not always the first thing that pops into my mind. But the facts still remain, and I’m still working on it. I’m not very “normal” myself, and I know that God created me to have my own peculiar quirks that make me unique. Without them, the world would be horribly boring. And so, instead of being critical, I might as well bring a smile to my face when I think of God’s amazing imagination and creativity. He’s passed just a taste of that imagination on to me, and if I can enjoy that creativity He’s given me, then I can definitely use it for His glory.

So how about you? What are you doing to love those around you – those you don’t even know? I’d challenge you to start today to show God’s love, even if it means just not being critical. I mean, people you walk by on the street don’t always have a lawn to mow or anything else that physically shows your and God’s love for them. But you can always do them a favour and not put them down in your mind – even if you never see them again, they won’t have that negative image in your mind. Once you start doing this, it becomes a mindset; you start to have a positive viewpoint for all people, even those that seem strange or just abnormal. It’s an amazing feeling, really, and I’ve only tasted a tiny bit of that feeling myself. I’m learning more and more about this, and I’d seriously challenge you to do the same. Just remember that you’re just as out of the ordinary as they are – and that’s a good thing!

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