It Takes More Than Just Being Noticed

To be noticed is nice. To make a positive impact on someone’s life is better.

I read an article about a man who brought a lawsuit against God. I read the title on the internet and clicked on the article only to find that the man who brought the suit is a Nebraska legislator from Omaha. He also happens to be a person I’ve met. The charge was that God has made “terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused ‘widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.’” The case didn’t go anywhere because the judge ruled that since the papers could not be served to God, it was not allowable. The senator announced that because the court stated it did not know God’s address, the judge was acknowledging the existence of God. According to the senator, a “consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God’s omniscience” and that means that God knows everything, so he knows about the papers and everything listed on them. Therefore, God should be held accountable to be in court. The senator is thinking about suing God again.

People’s absurdness is not limited to adults.

We started a children’s camp in Indiana. During one of our first summers, we had a sixth-grade boy who came home from a hike with a twitch in his shoulder. The entire side of his body jerked several times a minute. The camp nurse examined him, but could find no reason for the phenomena. After several hours of monitoring the jerking, we took the boy to the hospital emergency room. The physician there was also perplexed. Finally he asked the boy, “Can you stop the twitching?” The boy answered, “Sure.” And he quit. I have to say it was very quiet as I drove the boy and the nurse back to camp. What do you say to a child after an episode like that?

I think our deep desire is to be significant. We want to make a difference, to have people know we’ve been here and miss us when we’re gone.

There have been people in my life who have wondered about my sanity over the years. When my freshman science class was out of control, the teacher yelled, “I’m going to make you all stand in the corner. Who wants to be first?” Stupidly, I raised my hand. I was still in the corner when the class was dismissed. There is something in human nature that longs for recognition. We want to be seen, noticed, admired. We want our existence to be noted. Occasionally I watch What Not to Wear and marvel at the weird way some people dress. They claim it sets them apart from the pack, makes people notice them, or expresses their personality. I am always amazed how Clinton and Stacy can find beautiful, normal styled clothing that fulfills those desires tastefully yet dramatically.

As I think back over my life to the people I’ve met who made in impact on me, the list is fairly long.

My uncle Arlen is the first person I remember. He was just a few years older than me, and even though he died in a house fire at the age of twelve, my life was impacted by him. He taught me to see everyday things as fun. We had orange-eating contests. Grandma would cut an orange in half and we would see who could eat the entire inside without messing up the peel. Grandma’s featherbeds became trampolines as we tried to see who could jump the highest. We got in trouble one day for chasing Grandma’s chickens and catching their legs in the long wire catcher used on butchering day. Grandma was sure we’d break some chicken’s leg and then she’d have to deal with it.

Another person who impacted me was my aunt June. She has a quiet, gentle way about her as she lives her life loving God with all her heart and ministering to people around her. Years after she left her position as a missionary in what is now the Congo, I met a man with whom she still corresponded, writing him letters in his native language. She is retired and living in Rapid City, South Dakota where she spends time visiting and teaching women prisoners. Aunt June is still willing to open her home to people we send her way. Our friends who have met her, love her too.

My parents taught us through their outstanding hospitality. Dennis Miller–a pastor who always challenged us to ask “So what?” after we prepare a biblical lesson–showed us that facts about God aren’t enough. We need to help people understand how much God loves them and wants to be personally involved in changing their lives on a day to day, moment by moment basis. The list goes on with Pat Zoucha, Kim Matthews, an unnamed patient I took care of at St. Joseph’s hospital in Omaha, and too many others to remember. All of these people reached out to me in ways that changed my life. They didn’t do it by trying to be noticed or by stupid pranks. They did it by genuinely caring about people around them and reaching outside of themselves.

To be noticed is nice. To make a positive impact on someone’s life is better.

Julia Ewert (July 2010)

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