It’s easy to be blinded by the glitter, the energy, the drama, the variety, the sense of perpetual motion in the city. When the weather is warm and the nights balmy and mosquitoless, the sounds of performers and salesmen selling their wares through the constant hum of engines, and the patter of countless feet usher you from one block to the next, one can’t help but feel invigorated, excited, alive, and young. The beauty of a city street is its potential for opportunity. The sheer number of options available for entertainment, shopping, conversation, and experience inspire awe and exhilaration. It can be intoxicating to wander down streets window shopping for adventures along the way. It can also be overwhelming.
It’s important to know your aim, your intent, your goal. The endgame may simply be to see what diversions are available; perhaps it is to choose one and pursue it; maybe the options available have nothing to do with your goal and are merely distractions on your way. Regardless of your final destination, it’s important to remember where your intentions lie or they may become lost in the shuffle. You might have intended to see a show and then shop for some shoes, but while out you are lured in by the image of a bustling mall or frantic street performers until you suddenly realize you have waited too long to complete your task. Suddenly you realize the last train out is across town in twenty minutes and you wonder how on earth you will be able to traverse the requisite number of streets in that time frame. Now the lights dazzle, daze, and confuse you. Frantically scanning the interrupted horizon for a shuttle or subway sign you are suddenly struck with the brightness of everything. What you want isn’t standing out, your path is no longer apparent; the finish line is lost.
Pushing your way through the crowds, you aim for the darkest spot, the place where the lights aren’t as bright. It’s not until you can get far enough away from it all that you are able to pick out your path through the distractions, like Lotus-eaters waking from their enchantment. How on earth did you waste so much time focusing on everything but your destination? What were you chasing?
What we spend our time on says a lot about who we truly are. What we chase informs others about our treasure. Where our treasure is – our heart is. So, it made me think. What have I been chasing? What does my gaze say about what I treasure most? If I never spoke a word about my destination, could you tell where I was headed?
Matthew 6: 19-24 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”