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A Parable on Awareness


On our recent vacation, I asked my husband if we could take our life down to the studs and examine what is working and not working. Each day, we’d go for a hike and try to unpack categories like faith, family, friends, marriage, work, and finances. The goal was to come at it with a posture of non-judgement, avoid coming to hasty conclusions, and have openness to what is bringing us life and what may need to change.

But, secretly, throughout these conversations, I could feel a grasping within me to avoid change in any of these categories. A deep part of me felt I couldn’t truly let go of the cadence of life I had, because of the fear that something uncomfortable or too demanding might replace it.

As I’ve reflected on my resistance, I came across this parable by psychotherapist and Jesuit priest, Anthony De Mello.

“A group of tourists sits in a bus that is passing through gorgeously beautiful country; lakes and mountains and green fields and rivers. But the shades of the bus are pulled down. They do not have the slightest idea of what lies beyond the windows of the bus. And all the time of their journey is spent in squabbling over who will have the seat of honor in the bus, who will be applauded, who will be well considered. And so they remain till the journey’s end.”

As I read this, I’m left wondering what I’m missing when I hold too tightly to the things in my life that are good enough rather than opening them up to God. Am I like a tourist on this bus distracted by small things, when there is beauty to behold?

I encourage you to turn this parable over in your mind and let the Spirit speak through it. May it lead us to a deeper awareness of our own blocks to experiencing what God has for us.

- Melanie

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