Recently I’ve noticed that my brain has two modes: locomotive or mush. I rush around at high speed, trying to cross off items from my list, running late to pick up kids and feed my brood, tidying the living room, tidying the living room again, and tidying it again (Am I the only one who follows the toddler around attempting to undo her trail of destruction?). Then at eight o’clock p.m. when the fuzzy pajamas are under the covers, the musical toys are silenced, and the living room lamps are on, the train crashes. The locomotive speed of my thoughts, blazing from one task to the next, screeches to a halt and disintegrates into some kind of pumpkin-like puree. (The kind that jiggles from the can.) I shut down and the only activities that appeal to me are passive. Watch television. Be talked to. (But not necessarily talk back or even listen much.) Sleep.
The locomotive state is productive. That train gets where it needs to go. The mush state is cozy. It’s warm and comfortable under the blanket on the sofa. But at the last minute of the day, when I’m pulling back the covers of my bed, I think back through the day and think, “Was I really there? Tomorrow I need to read to the kids. I need to listen to what they’re saying. I need to be engaged.” That train doesn’t take in the scenery. My mind flies across the countryside of time and distractions (like answering questions about what’s for dinner-do I like it-have we had it before-what’s for dessert) that slow the locomotive frustrate me. Which is why my mind melts to mush at the first opportunity. It’s exhausting to be frustrated.
But what if I could slow the speed, take one of those scenic train rides through each day? I’ve seen pictures from my grandparents’ train trip through Canada. Picture after picture. Bridges over oblivion. Forests of untouched land. Coasts of icy water. Who thinks, looking at these pictures, of where the train was supposed to go? When it was supposed to get there? It’s the view out the window that was the whole point of the trip.
The view out my mind’s window is a little girl coloring to her heart’s content. A boy wishing for snow. A baby fascinated with the smallest of life’s objects. A husband making a warm fire. A mountain and a sunset.
It’s Christmas time and this year I’m thinking about Mary’s motherhood. So many things of such great importance were happening all around her and she saw. She was looking out the window. “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51b) She took it all in, soaked it up, pondered her child’s life.
The day I was convicted of this, convinced to see better, to slow down and soak it in, be engaged, I saw something amazing. My little treasuring opened up something new about God, which turned into a big treasuring. (You can read about it here on December 4th.) So I am getting a window seat on this train, training (unavoidable pun, sorry) my mind to see because I know that what I pass today is only and all treasure from God.