Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old blog post: "Breaking out of a warehouse"

TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2009

Breaking out of a warehouse

The following is an excerpt from Eat This Book, by Eugene H. Peterson (

Imagine a group of men and women in a huge warehouse. They were born in this warehouse, grew up in it, and have everything there for their needs and comfort. There are no exits to the building but there are windows. But the windows are thick with dust, are never cleaned, and so no one bothers to look out. Why would they? The warehouse is everything they know, has everything they need. But then one day one of the children drags a step stool under one of the windows, scrapes off the grime, and look out. He sees people walking on the streets; he calls to his friends to come and look. They crowd around the window - they never new a world existed outside their warehouse. And then they notice a person out in the street looking up and pointing; soon several people are gathered, looking up and talking excitedly. The children look up but there is nothing to see but the roof of their warehouse. They finally get tired of watching these people out on the street acting crazily, pointing up at nothing and getting excited about it. What's the point of stopping for no reason at all, pointing at nothing at all, and talking up a storm about the nothing?

But what those people in the street were looking at was an airplane (or geese in flight, or a giant pile of cumulus clouds). The people in the street look up and see the heavens and everything in the heavens. The warehouse people have no heavens above them, just a roof. 

What would happen, though, if one day one of those kids cut a door out of the warehouse, coaxed his friends out, and discovered the immense sky above them and the grand horizons beyond them? That is what happens...when we open the Bible - we enter the totally unfamiliar world of God, a world of creation and salvation stretching endlessly above and beyond us. Life in the warehouse never prepared us for anything like this.

Typically, adults in the warehouse scoff at the tales the children bring back. After all, they are completely in control of the warehouse world in ways they could never be outside. And they want to keep it that way.

This passage really had me thinking this past week. How often do we limit ourselves to our own little warehouse? Go back and re read the text in red. This is what really hit me. The people outside were getting so excited about an airplane, or clouds, or birds flying. I kind of missed over this at first. Then, as I read over it again, I started to ask myself why we don't get that excited over the little things. Do you remember being a child and staring up at the clouds? I feel like as we grow older it's no longer "acceptable" to get excited over small, seemingly "insignificant" things such as a shape in the clouds.

The rest of the adult world wants to call it "immature" to be so excited about minor things. To laugh and have fun at work must mean that something is wrong with you. To make time during the day to get some fresh air must mean that you aren't working hard enough. To sit in the trunk of your hatchback trunk and sip a hot cup of tea while admiring and laughing at the funny shapes in the clouds is a waste of time (yes, I did this on this past Sunday morning. My lawn furniture was wet from the rain and I didn't want to dirty a towel drying the chairs). To be thankful to be busy at work because it means you're working for a growing company means that you must be sucking up to your boss. To love a free toy from a box of cereal and keep it on your desk at work to play with randomly means that you haven't grown up yet. To occasionally turn up the car radio and rock out to a silly song is juvenile. And I could go on and on....

Please, don't misunderstand me here. There is definitely a time and a place to be serious, focused and professional. And I do know how to be those things, and I am very good at it. 
But here's the truth, as I see it. To be able to get excited over the little things is healthy! Proverbs 17:22 says that, "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones". So, why can't I have fun at work? Why shouldn't I get fresh air during the day if it makes me smile? Why should I have to be so stressed out all day that I just feel bitter? Why is it that the rest of the world seems to want to quiet me for doing what I can to be in a good mood?

Again, please don't misunderstand me; I have my bad days too. I have times where I do get stressed over things. Days where I just want to be left alone for a bit.

But, I don't want to be stuck in a warehouse not knowing what else is out there. I want to break a hole in the wall and get out of the warehouse and see what the people outside are getting excited about. And if that happens to be a cloud that looks like man chasing a dog with a rolled up newspaper, than so be it! I'm making it my goal this summer to think more positively and love the little things in life. Who's with me? Who else will ignore that voice saying "grow up" and just let lose a bit? Who else will take some time to just watch the clouds roll by? Anyone??

That's it. Sorry this is long...


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