Thursday, April 16, 2009

Trees and Forests

One of the things that makes a bit different than most people is the fact that I see the trees instead of the forest. It's a common trait of those with autism: we tend to focus on parts of something rather than the whole.

In the day to day life that plays itself out in many ways. I and someone else might look at a certain situation and I will come away focused on one aspect of the encounter and think everything is okay, while someone else takes in everything and believes the situation is grave.

I sometimes wonder if this happens in my role as a minister. The church where I am the Associate is a church that I was a member of once, a decade ago. I had heard the stories of a church mired in its glorious past, but in the past six months, I've seen small signs of a church wanting to change. None of these are big moves, but baby steps that in some ways are farther than I expected this congregation to go.

But, then I wonder: Am I missing the big picture? Am I not seeing the whole story which might be worse than I can imagine?

I don't know. I think at times there are advantages to being able to only see parts instead of a whole, because some times we are so busy looking at the forest that we fail to see the small plant that is slowly but surely growing. And of course, there are advantages to seeing the whole picture and see that while I'm enjoying that new plant, there is a wolf nearby that sees me as lunch.

I think the congregation faces some challenges down the road, but I think there is some hope in there as well. I will use the odd gift that I have to see the hope springing forth, and I will be thankful for those who can also see the whole forest instead of just one tree. God knows we are both needed.

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