March 9, 2010
The final act required participation from the audience. I can't recall the number of people involved but I'll never forget the jaw-dropping response of the audience, myself included, as 25+ people vanish before our eyes. People nearly broke their necks scanning the auditorium in an effort to discover where they had gone.
Then, after a short bit of time that felt like hours, much to the amazement of the crowd they all reappeared. Unharmed they stood before us just as though they had never left. And despite the fact that they we were complete strangers we collectively breathed a loud sigh of relief. It was really quite impressive.
When we got home our son began scouring the internet to try to find out how it had been done. He had figured out most of the other tricks but could not get a handle on the closing act. And apparently the participants were sworn to secrecy. I'm uncertain of what kinds of threats were levied against them, or what bonuses were thrown at them, but no leaks could be found to explain this amazing feat.
They. vanished. before. our. eyes.
I've been considering it lately.
I can't help but wonder what would happen if I could perform such a trick.
Removed from sight.
No blogs, emails, tweets, status updates, articles, phone conversations, voicemails, text messages or letters.
Absent. from. life.
How long would it take for people to notice aside from my immediate family?
And would my immediate family, aside from my fellow condo-dwellers, realize it?
How. long. would. it. take.
What difference would it make?
These are questions that have been on my mind lately. Not with a sense of morbitity but with a sense of wonder.
I have a wonderful family. I've also got siblings, in-laws, friends, and neighbors. And I have followers who read, write, and tweet with me. Each one of them is a blessing to me and I am thankful for them. Using the gift of encouragement, God has so graciously bestowed upon me, I endeavor to bring refreshment to them as they travel the road called "life." My desire is to be a blessing to them as well.
Yet with each passing day I more clearly see how tiring and treacherous life can be. For others, absolutely, and also for me.
I wonder if I've ever done anything that has made a lasting difference. Or has it all been words?
Statements like "that ministered to me", "I appreciate your prayers", "you're a blessing", "here's a hug", "love you, friend", "you can do it", etc. are constantly thrown around. I don't just hear them--I say them. And some days it all sounds like a bunch of hocus pocus.
Hocus pocus that makes me tired.
A few weeks ago someone posted a comment that stood out to me. I've been pondering it every since. @rickosborne asked this question on Facebook: "Why do we wait until people die before we focus on all their good points. They won't need the encouragement then. They need it now! : )" The responses to this question were honest and interesting. I wish I could share them as well.
It. really. made. me. think.
People vanish every minute. Most aren't part of a magic act. They don't know they are leaving and there is no one to bring them back.
Time after time, at memorial services, I've seen people come to pay their respects, offer their condolensces, and share with family & friends left behind words of encouragement about their departed loved one. It is always very moving.
There are people who compose music, write books, pen articles, draw with their mouths, and perform all kinds of random acts of kindness and yet many times they are regarded as invisible their entire lives. They only appear brillant, clever, masterful, and talented after they are gone. In my opinion there is something wrong with that.
Why do we wait?
What. are. we. waiting. for?
Why such casual attitudes and shallow relationships?
Do you ever feel like performing a vanishing act?
How long would you like to be gone for?
What would you expect when you get back?
Vanishing is not all bad, you know.
As I ponder it the words of the Psalmist come to mind: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." (Psalm 139:7-10)
One of the reasons I've considered vanishing is because others can surely get by without me, but I can't get by without God. I don't want to run away from everything. I'd just like to drop everything and run to Him.
So if in the future it suddenly seems as though I have disappeared please know it is only part one of the show. I will reappear. Most of you won't even realize that I had vanished at all. And, unlike those people sworn to secrecy, regarding what they heard & saw during their experience, I'll be free to share. Hopefully I will learn something new and exciting that I can pass along.