Memphis, Tenn., holds fond memories for me. During my childhood, our family made many visits to relatives who lived in the area. So it was during my early years that I began to develop an affinity for the city.
Surprisingly one of the main memories I have of Memphis might seem dull to the average tourist but Overton Park in downtown Memphis was not dull to me. So on one of our trips to Memphis, our parents took us downtown to Overton Park to experience feeding the pigeons. Overton Park was a park with promenade walks all around it and a quadrant filled with trees, grass and park benches. The park was filled with thousands of pigeons, and the pigeons were accustomed to being fed by the people who sat around on park benches.
Even though there might not been any pigeons around, as soon as we sat down on one of the park benches in Overton Park, we would hear a fluttering and the pigeons would flock on every side of us, hoping to be fed. I thought that they walked so peculiar, a really crazy gait. Then years later I found why pigeons walk the way they do. I read an article in a science magazine written by a bird expert. He said that pigeons can't focus on a main point or subject or what is ahead of them when they are walking, so the pigeon has to hold his ahead entirely still between stops to get his eyes in focus again. So the result is a crazy walk that involves a stop with each step.
But as an adult I can relate a spiritual principle to that pigeon experience because at times my spiritual walk is like that. I sometimes do not have Christ as my focal point when I am going about my daily duties and obligations. In fact sometimes the things I say and the things I do are the result of a walk that is not focused on Christ but distracted by the routine things of the world. When I get like that, I have to stop, refocus and think about my walk. My walk is not in line with what I claim to be — a follower of Christ.
Then again sometimes my focus is on me. Some days I secretly boast in my own mind that I have it right — my pride is the focal point. My walk is one of a self-righteous "pat myself on the back" walk. In other words I do just what Jesus warned about in his story of the Pharisee and tax collector.
The Pharisee made a big deal of his praying and comparing himself to the "sinners of the world." In fact he said, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people — robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'"
But Jesus said the tax collector stood afar and would not even look up into heaven but cried out to the Lord to have mercy on him, a sinner. He recognized his own sinfulness. Then Jesus said: "For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)
I may think at times that my walk is right on target but the problem is I think it is my walk, my own assessment and through my own strength, and not the Lord in me.
For all of us, our main focus has to be Christ. We must see ourselves for what we are — sinners redeemed by a loving and merciful God. Spiritual vision involves focusing on God in our daily steps and making him the focal point of our daily walk.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org