Our 1-inch World
In my North Canton apartment, I am lucky enough to have a set of sliding glass doors that lead out to a small patio. Just past that, there is a cute little view of some greenery, trees, and the apartment complex pool. The two cats, Aspen and Beau, spend most of their waking hours tucked between the vertical blinds, watching the goings-on outside. On more than one occasion I have been startled by the sound of a cat face smacking into the glass as they tried, to no avail, to catch a bird or a squirrel that came too close.
A few months ago, I covered one edge of the glass panes with a large shelf liner sticker (the vertical blinds left a wide gap on that side so that nighttime became a little too scary movie-esque for my taste). The liner was long enough to cover most of the space, leaving only an inch or so bare at the bottom. I was satisfied with that placement and can now watch Netflix after the sun goes down without feeling uneasy.
Beau, however, was none too pleased with my new redecorating project. That particular side of the glass is his favorite spot for taking sunshine naps and stalking woodland creatures. Ever since I covered the spot, he has sat there, crouching low to look out through the one-inch uncovered space at the bottom of the glass. In fact, he crawled to his tiny corner as I was writing this paragraph, so you can see the picture attached as evidence. Out of curiosity, I measured the patio doors: 104 inches wide and 74 inches tall. The shelf liner on the window covers a space 18 inches wide and 73 inches tall. Beau’s corner is 18 inches wide and 1 inch tall. I’m no mathematician but it seems that Beau’s preferred viewpoint is cheating him out of a lot of space.
When I watch Beau in his tiny corner of comfort, I wonder what the allure of it is. The views offered by the rest of the door are certainly more expansive and probably much nicer. Doesn’t it hurt his neck to keep crouching down all day? Can’t he understand what he’s missing if he refuses to look beyond this 1-inch space? When I ask him, his look tells me that this cat has found his little corner from which to view the world and he likes it perfectly fine, thankyouverymuch.
The longer this continues, however, the more I recognize this situation. Don’t you? It is the same way that the majority of us choose to live our lives. We pick our corner and our viewpoint from which to experience the world and we stay there. If someone else expresses views that don’t fit into our 1-inch world, we can choose to ignore them, decide they don’t matter, or discredit them. Sometimes, this tiny space requires that we give up certain experiences, lest our world expand beyond our comfort zones.
Standing at my North Canton patio doors, I can recognize that all three beings in the space have access to the views, but all three of us have different vantage points. The world outside of ourselves is so much more expansive than we can ever imagine. Even in the diversity of our experiences, there is far too much of the world which we at First Presbyterian Church in Minerva will never encounter. God calls us not only to experience and change our tiny corners for the better, but also to recognize and acknowledge the experiences in all the other corners of the world. We are called to experience all that we can of God’s vast, diverse creation. God’s kin-dom cannot fit in a 1-inch world nor a 74-inch world nor any comparable world in which we can cocoon ourselves.
In the photo above, Beau looks pretty silly crouched down into a corner when he has the whole window to use at his leisure. My friends, so too do we look silly when we claim that our 1-inch world are the best and most important corners. Let us come out from our tiny spaces and humble ourselves as we seek to know more of God’s world.