Today, I have a guest writer, my dear friend Dr. Jen Watkins. She’s a woman after God’s dream, and works side by side with me in London. If she lived in the first century her name might be Persis (Romans 16:12) . She is an accomplished woman, with a PHD in Medieval Studies from Cornell University, and years of experience serving our great God. The pictures are of (1) The Galerius arch at Thessoloniki (Roman arch from 3rd century) and (2) A Piazza in Venice. I hope you enjoy it!
The holiday season has come and gone and everyone’s writing their resolutions. Over the holidays, I was reminded of one of the many odd jobs I’ve done in my life (the list would probably fill up a couple pages!!!) managing a laboratory of tree-ring research at Cornell University. My first year I was one of two girls working as managers and we were both new to the job. Included was a summer trip to Europe, Greece and Turkey to collect samples from forests and archaeological sites. We were warned ahead of time about the conditions – some places would have very primitive bathrooms; we would be changing hotels every couple of days; we would be breakfasting about 7am and be on the go until about 10pm unless it was a rest day; we couldn’t wear open-toed shoes during the day (no matter how hot it was) because we needed to be ready to work in all types of conditions the moment the van stopped.
It was the first trip for both of us. My coworker wound up having more problems than me – she fought with our boss and found our living conditions impossible. For me, there were definitely challenges, but the positives outweighed them – I was getting to travel and see two cities I’d always wanted to visit – Istanbul and Venice – for free. I also got to see Biblical and other archaeological sites. Even being in the forests and outdoors was fun.
One afternoon we stayed in hotel deep in a pine forest in Turkey. We had finished early for once, and I went on a prayer walk with my CD player. I remember perching on some rocks and watching the road and seeing a horse-drawn cart go by with a family dressed in clothes that looked like they came from last century. I couldn’t imagine their living conditions – they probably lived with bathrooms my coworker and I found challenging. And this Scripture came to me “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34). I wasn’t better or worse than my coworker, and our situations were virtually the same. I just had a different perspective, so as a result, I was having a lot more fun. The family I saw seemed pretty happy as they went by, too, despite their life circumstances.
I wish I was better in applying this to my own life, but it was an “Aha!” moment that has stayed with me and helps me understand the scripture. Sometimes, my situation may not be all that I want it to be, but my attitude and contentment level is more dependent on my perspective, the eyes with which I see, than what is actually there. I think that’s one of my goals for 2014 – to see with healthy eyes.