In Plain Sight

Hiding in plain sight.  As plain as the nose on your face.  If it had been a snake, it would have bitten you.  Right under your nose.  The list of ways to say that something should be easy to see seems to be interminable.  So many things are in front of us and we are blissfully unaware.  A good friend of mine pointed out one such example the other day.

Photo: Dano

 How many times have you seen a similar truck drive past you?  Perhaps the better question is:  How many times each day do you see a similar truck drive past?  It is an everyday sight in most towns, as the drivers speed to commercial and residential destinations to make their deliveries.  The other thing I wonder is:  Do you see what is right in front of you?  Did you know that there is a message on the side of this vehicle?  It’s really not hidden and wasn’t meant to be a secret.  Oh, it was placed there purposefully, but the designers also purposefully didn’t make a point of telling you about it.  They wanted you to see it for yourself.

As I write, I can’t keep my mind from wandering to a most exceptional man in our country’s history, George Washington Carver.  He was an extraordinary man among his peers, an African-American who had risen from slavery, being redeemed from kidnappers for a horse at one time in his childhood.  He acquired something unheard of for one of his race in the late 1800s–an education, gaining a Masters Degree in Botany.  Carver spent most of his life teaching and experimenting and he is credited with the rise of the popularity of the peanut industry in the Southern United States, especially as a replacement for the cotton crops which were devastated by boll weevil infestations on several occasions.  He is perhaps just as well known for his work in discovering hundreds of uses for the little nuts and the oil they contain.  In spite of his own achievements, Mr. Carver gave credit to the Creator for showing him the secrets of the lowly peanut in this way:  “When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.” 

I wonder if you realize that somehow, this blog has done a similar thing with most of its posts, in a much less significant way.  Most of the posts you can read here utilize a story from life, either my own or that of someone I know, which makes a larger point.  The familiar often hides the profound, but with a little shove here and a small amount of prodding there, the truth is urged forth, to stand unveiled and powerful.  It is not my doing that the truth is there; I have simply managed a time or two, with no small amount of help, to be able to point it out. I’m pretty sure that most of life is like that.  The profound awaits discovery, hidden among the foolish.  We just have to be diligent in looking for it.

Federal Express?  Oh, yeah.  They designed their logo to do more than tell you their name.  It also tells you which direction they are headed.  Forward.  Look at the logo.  Do you see the arrow pointing to the front of the truck?  The negative space between the “E” and the “x”.   Ah, you see it now.  Forward!  It’s not only the direction the truck is headed, they want you to know that the company is moving ahead into the future, too.  There are many of you who had seen this already, but for the rest of you, I bet you won’t ever look at that logo the same way again.

That’s the way it is with the truth, when it is right in front of our noses, separated from the jumbled mess of life.  We grasp it, and we try to understand how to apply it properly.  Or, we can forget it and go on in much the same way we always have.  I’d like a serving of the former, thanks.  

Just as with the logo, whose creators intended that the truth should become plain to us, our Creator has done the same thing with all of His creation.  The truth is waiting to be found and applied.

It’s there.  Right under our noses. Hiding in plain sight.

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
(George Washington Carver~American educator, scientist, and inventor~1864-1943)

“This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.”

(“This Is My Father’s World”~ hymn by Maltbie Babcock~American pastor and poet~1858-1901)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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