I met my friend Paul when I did a little spiritual spring cleaning on my life about three years back. Paul and I have very little in common. Oil and water aside, we humor each other and do things from time to time which we would not have done otherwise. I did one of those things recently when I accompanied him to a Native American artifact show in Leoma. For those of you not familiar with southern Tennessee, Leoma is just north of St. Joseph. Or explained in the local tongue, Leomer is right up 43 from Saint Joe. Since we are oil and water, I might have referred to the event as an arrowhead convention.
Paul usually ignores my smartellicy remarks. I think that is why we remain good friends.
We met in a parking lot in Florence because Paul gets impatient sometimes. It was a good ride north lined with short, light green winter wheat. We arrived at a little park in Leoma with a beige metal building in the middle. We knew it was a park because it was circled by the requisite round, log, park fence. It was also evident by a scattering of concrete picnic tables. Men and women were gathered around the door smoking in their Carhartt coats and overalls. As we walked in, neighborly howdies were exchanged.
I wish you could have seen Paul’s quick pace. I think he was a little excited.
It was a pretty big crowd and I think we lost each other pretty quickly. There were lines of plastic family reunion tables filled with wooden display cases. I remember being more impressed with the wooden cases than the millions of arrowheads they protected. Paleo, Mississippian…Yada Yada…I was not impressed. I overheard stories at every table about finding this one here and that one there. I overheard experts assessing someone’s artifact. I was working pretty hard at being unimpressed.
Have you ever gotten the feeling God was trying to get your attention?
Seeing the ocean of arrowheads, I decided to find something different. A few minutes later, I found a large dark stone in the shape of an exclamation point. It was without the dot, of course. It was about the length of a hubcap and the width of a bar of soap. The plaque on the case said it was a Celt. The woman behind the table smiled to the point of a grin and said, “I like that artifact too. It’s Jerry’s favorite piece.” I wasn’t sure who this Jerry was but, I had to agree with him. I asked her for what the item was used. “I could tell you but, I will mess it up. Hey can you talk to him,” she asked another short, fat, baldheaded man like myself who was over at the next table and I’m sure talking about finding this one here and that one there. When he arrived I found myself still pointing at the Celt.
Have you ever wondered if excitement was a disease you could catch like a Cold Virus?
The way Jerry demonstrated using his hand as a visual aid and his ear to ear grin invited me to catch his excitement. He explained how people would cut a tree and fashion a sort of hoe to hollow trees and shape things like canoes. He explained with sweeping hand gestures how with transportation, a whole new world was opened. He talked about how societies who spent less time traveling were able to work on things like a common language, the arts… I love cause and effect. Jerry then delivered what I am sure God’s message for me was that day. The Celt was eight to ten-thousand years old. He continued to explain how artifacts like the Celt helped disprove some historical theories but, my mind had ground to a halt.
Is there anything more complex than perspective?
That line is from a movie, I think, but, it is really true. Just as transportation changed the lives of the Paleo-Americans so, couldn’t the Celt change my life. Shouldn’t any real spiritual spring cleaning begin with a change of perspective? I know my problems were suddenly reduced to their proper place when I held that Celt in my hand. The same tool that some poor sap used to build a leaky canoe ten millennia ago is a tool I could use. A tool to cut away what does not work in my spiritual canoe. Once shaped, there is really no limit to where God can take me.