I sit across from him, this burly, bearded man on the airport rental car shuttle, as I’m homeward bound from a tagging-along-with-James-on-a-work-trip adventure. His baseball hat caught my attention: #beholder. Curiosity piqued, I debated with myself whether to ask what it meant, need-to-know gal that I am. Beholder of WHAT? One’s mind reels with the possibilities.
Approaching the terminal, knowing the question burning in my mind may go unanswered if I don’t act quickly, I blurt, “So what’s the story behind your hat? What does it mean?” He blinked, surprised, and looked at me. Chuckling, with a half-smile nearly obscured by his impressive beard, he replied, “It’s a fictional creature in Dungeons and Dragons. You don’t want to run into that guy…” and he proceeded to describe the floating one-eyed, tentacled demon creature who can wipe out all your hit points in one fell swoop. Ok. Not what I expected to hear from bearded burly guy. He’s cordial, chats a bit more about a bunch of successful adult men getting together the play Dungeons and Dragons, wishes us a good trip, and swings his bag over the shoulder as he exits the shuttle, #beholder hat and all.
True to form, my mind kept going as we ride on to our terminal stop. After getting through security I sat, waiting to board our flight back home, trying to put down in words what that random guy’s hashtag on a hat sparked in me. Not visions a floating eye demon, but a way of thinking about myself. As a beholder.
The dictionary defines behold as follows:
See or observe (a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one)
Synonyms: watch, survey, witness, regard, contemplate.
This is not a routine glance at a mundane thing. Throughout the Bible, “behold” almost always precedes something amazing or terrifying. Something God wanted His people to really focus on. Look hard. See what I’m doing. Pay attention. Sit up and take notice.
I see. I witness. I bear witness. I behold what is blessed, what is hard, what is beautiful all around me. I behold the unfolding of God’s purpose. I behold the good- no, the best- in the people around me. I behold God’s faithfulness in the face of my struggles. I am a beholder of miracles, of growth, of joy, of the deepest sorrow and pain. I am a beholder of family and loneliness, of connection and drifting, not only in my own life but those around me. I sit up and take notice.
So what? you might ask. Everyone sees all that. Yes, true statement. But. What do I do with it? What do you do with it? That’s the difference. “Behold” is the first part; there’s always an invitation that’s tacked onto that beholding, something we are to do with what we see.
As we go through this world “beholding,” may we listen for where God wants us to get involved with what He’s calling our attention to, these remarkable people and situations. May we be faithful in the next steps, not just seeing and walking away, but being willing to behold and then enter in and take up our part, whether that’s through action, encouragement, celebration, weeping, or praying for someone.
I challenge you this week to keep eyes open wide. Be a #beholder (again, not the kind with the tentacles, thank you very much), then step in as God leads you. Participate in what He is up to right in front of you. Maybe we should make a hat to go with that…