I felt very ignorant when the lead singer explained to us that we were going to experience every style of rock music that evening….because, honestly, it all sounded just the same to me. Loud guitar, loud bass, lots of drums and a keyboard! (When I say, it all sounded the same – that’s not a grumpy, middle-aged insult. I loved it, and sang my little heart out – just was completely unable to recognise that each hymn was done in a different style.)
The sullen teenager next to me was unimpressed. “I bet they won’t do any Norwegian Punk Fusion Metal*” he said in disdainful tones.
Ironically, in my ignorance, I probably enjoyed the event far more than he did. Loud and musical noises that I could sing along to made me very happy. As did seeing friends doing something they love and doing it well. But without a doubt, that teenager had spent infinitely longer than me paying attention to the subtle differences between styles of heavy metal and was aware of whole layers of richness that I never suspected. (He was tapping his foot before the evening ended, I’m glad to say.)
When I first started dating Tim, (now my husband), I would look at a bike riding past and think, “Oh look, a bike” – or maybe even, “Red Bike!” Now, after long exposure to his enthusiasm, I can tell the different between a mountain bike, a road bike and a trials bike. I can even tell if the bike has suspension or not, as long as I’m not distracted by the fit man in lycra who happens to be riding the bike….
Tim, however, goes much further – he will see the same bike go past, and comment on the type of brakes, the make of the frame and gears, whether the frame is the right size for the rider or not, and what tweaks they might like to make to their pedalling cadence and choice of gear, to improve their efficiency…..The result of a lot of time and attention given to the subject.
What am I expert at? Where can I make those fine discriminations? I know more breeds of sheep than the average person I guess, but am far from an expert. Bread making techniques and trouble shooting, likewise. I can whip up a craft activity for kids from a pile of random art supplies and junk with my eyes closed – but they always look a bit…er…clunky.
What I would really like to be expert at is seeing God at work, Not just in the big stuff, but in the day to day stuff. To detect the traces of his action in everyday events and regular, ordinary people. To become tuned in to how we then react to those moments. Is that even possible?
If I try to pay more and more attention to what God might be up to, will I get better at seeing it? What clues would I look for?
What do you reckon?
* The wonderful Metanoia
*Ok, I made that style of music up – I don’t remember exactly what his niche taste was – but it was definitely something Norwegian