First Baptist Church of Herndon

681 Elden St., Herndon, VA 20170-4722, Phone 703-437-3620

View from the heart

Linda Soller | Dec 09, 2013

We have a ton of deer where I live. These aren’t just any deer. These deer have acquired a gourmet’s taste for the exotic and expensive. In other words they love to eat the plants in our yards that have been purchased from the nursery and planted lovingly in just the right spot. None of that hum drum natural vegetation that just any old animal can eat. We locals complain about the damage they do, the work they cause as we plant and then re-plant, not to mention the cost of all those tasty exotic treats. They are generally thought of as pests. They’ve also become so accustomed to us that they won’t leave their grazing spot unless you run like a wild person toward them frantically waving you arms and yelling for them to leave your yard alone. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have provided that visual. Indeed, the deer will stand peacefully looking right at you until you make a move. 

The other day driving to work I came over a small hill and could see there was a car on the other side of the road that had pulled off on to the grassy shoulder. It was only a two lane road so cars were going past her very slowly. As I drew closer I saw the reason why. The woman’s car was well off the road, but on the road was an injured deer. It was flailing about, not able to stand, not able to lie still. I see deer lying dead on the side of the road all the time, it’s pretty common. I couldn’t ever remember seeing one in this condition. The poor woman looked traumatized. As I drove past tears starting filling my eyes, and that pitiful creature didn’t look like a pest at all. It was a shocking, heart wrenching moment.

Maybe my heart was due for such a moment. We too often see the world through our eyes. You know what I mean. We see things as they are, in a specific shape or form or condition. The world around us can become so predictable. Even when we have that rare sunset or panoramic view that makes us smile, we are still admiring through our sight. That morning I didn’t see the same deer that stood in my yard and ate my plants. My heart saw a creature who didn’t understand what had happened and struggled to survive. I thought about it for a long time that day, and as I drove along the road the next morning I was surprised that there wasn’t any sign of the incident.  It was almost as though it never happened, but I know differently.

This Advent season I’ve decided I will try to look at things through my heart. I’ll consider the gifts I give, not for how they make me appear as the giver, but for how it will feel to those receiving them. I’ll consider those who are in need and not look at their appearance or where they live, but try to imagine how they feel and how I can really help. I’ll anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus and try not to reduce it to wrappings and bright lights, but let my heart see the joy and comfort it brings. When I look out in my yard and see a deer grazing quietly I promise I will pause and remember we share this planet.  I’ll try with all my heart to see the beauty of nature. I‘ll still shoo them off, into the woods where they’ll be safe, but I promise to pause and let my heart see the peacefulness that surrounds their grazing.  Advent is the perfect time to change our point of view and see things from our hearts. 

Have a great week! :o)