ARH Inspirations ~ Created with Canva Pro

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Can You See It?

“Yep. There it went,” I said seconds after the loud pop almost startled me right out of my seat. I had seen the truck as it passed by but was not expecting the rock that soon after smashed into my windshield. One glance at the depth of the deep half-moon crack that had just appeared right in front of my eyes told me all I needed to know. I was getting a new windshield whether I liked it or not. I sighed at the thought of one more thing being crammed into my already busting at the seam schedule.

My husband confirmed this for me later that day as he inspected the remnants of the rock’s impact. “Go ahead and give them a call and file the claim. That windshield is toast.”

And that is exactly what I did. The call for the claim was smooth and fast. The appointment to get it replaced was easy to schedule. The bill for the repair would be minor and the effort I spent to set it all up was surprisingly minimal. Thank you for that, Lord, I whispered. There had been a lot of struggle over the last several weeks and the last thing I was looking forward to was more of the same. I appreciated the process not being complicated, for I wasn’t sure how much more difficulty I could handle.

Two days later, I drove home in my old Bessie with her new, shiny window, admiring how clean it was all the way to my driveway. I put her in park and sighed with a glance at the sap-laden trees hanging down over our shop, knowing that glass would not be spotless long. I reached for my purse from the passenger seat and turned to open the door, and as I did, something caught my eye from the side.

I looked back at that new, shiny glass to confirm what I hoped I was imagining.

There was a scratch.

Three in fact. That perfect, brand-new glass had the tiniest set of scratches sitting right in front of my face. A set of three scratches so small that it could only have come from the toddler of a mouse family as he climbed upon my windshield with his tiny little claws and left an itty-bitty memento of his scramble up the windshield as he went to play king of the mountain with his tiny toddler mouse friends upon the roof of my van. Which obviously must have happened somewhere during the short drive home.

Well, not really. But you get the point. It was so small. Tiny.

But yet still there. “I don’t see them at all,” said my obviously-needing-to-go-grab-his-readers husband as he searched my windshield later that evening.

“How can you not see them?” I demanded. “They are right there,” I said, pointing to the spot of the tiny markings.

“I didn’t say I don’t believe you, just that I don’t see them,” he offered with a grin. “But either way, what are you going to do?”

Wasn’t that the question of the day? What was I going to do? This situation had landed me right in the middle of my unhappy mental place. Hesitant to waste any more precious time complaining about tiny scratches but frustrated at spending time and money on a new windshield only to find tiny scratches. I didn’t want the glass people to look at me as if I were crazy bringing it back for such a small thing, but I also didn’t like the idea of just ignoring it. Which, by the way, was pretty impossible. I was not really a let it go kind of girl.

Because once you know, you know.

Once I knew it was there, I couldn’t look away. (Which made driving a real treat.) Every time the sun caught it just right, highlighting the flaw like a flare, or when a dark background passed in front of my view making the invisible visible, it was a reminder of its imperfect existence. I soon found that even in the moments I could not find the tiny markings easily, I would look for them, search for them, until I could unmask them from their temporary hiding place with the enthusiasm of a detective dog leading a villain reveal. Aha! You have been unmasked you windshield pretender!

I was hunting the imperfection just to confirm it still existed. Yup, still imperfect.

But my windshield wasn’t the only piece of glass I did that with. I was pretty good about finding the flaws in the mirror too.

And I didn’t even need my readers for that.

Truth: I have some big scratches. I have scratches that are more chips and cracks that interfere with my view and require my attention. Broken places that really need repairing without question. But those are not the ones that are blocking my vision today. I am talking about those little imperfections that I find and can’t move past. Those things I use to shame myself into believing that I am not a useful and beautiful pane of His glory that others could see light through. I am talking about those things only I seem to be able to see.

And when I look hard enough, I will find them. Of course, I find them, I was looking for them. Expecting them. Yup, still imperfect.

I will find them even on days when things are going pretty good and the crazy curls have been fairly nice to me despite the humidity. I can find these tiny imperfections in the glimmer of the light. I can find them in the background of the dark. I can find these flaws and faults because I will go looking for them just because I know they exist. Sometimes I even find a few I didn’t know existed, and then from that point on, I will look for those too.

And that debating over what to do about that crazy windshield reminded me how silly it all is.

Because those tiny scratches make me human. And that humanity is how I connect with my people. I don’t connect with others on being perfect. Can you imagine? “Oh, hey! I made absolutely no mistakes today! I am the queen of perfect!”

Yeah, there is a girl you want to cozy up to.

Instead, I connect on my faults. I connect on the very things I don’t like about me. Those little imperfections are beautiful relationships waiting to be grown. They are cherished moments of reality and understanding and a reminder of how we are all in this together. If I am going to insist on hunting my flaws, I pray I can at least remember the potential they hold instead of clinging to the hold I let them have over me.

Because no one is perfect. Honestly, it is a shock any of us can see where we are going at all. But at least for today, maybe I am not going to go looking for the proof. I am not going to add another thing to my checklist of wrong. I am just going to let what is be what it is and try to find the beauty in what it someday could be. I am going to try to find the perspective.

Maybe it is not scratched, but rustic. Maybe not imperfect but cherished. Worn with love, a sign of aged wisdom, reminders of the experiences that make me a better person in the end. A mindset shift that lends the ability to look past the scratches to the view instead. A new way to see that doesn’t include looking for something wrong which I can always find, but instead finding what can be done with something wrong. A different view that makes an already hard life a little easier on a weary soul.

Life is already busy. Life is already hard. There is already a lot of difficulty. Maybe we could find a way to not make it harder on ourselves. Maybe we could let it go. I don’t know what or who you are looking for but scratched up party of one right over here. And there is plenty of room. I got a table with a great view.

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Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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