Climbing Above the Crowd to See Jesus


Byzantine Catholics celebrated the Sunday of Zacchaeus this week, the first of five Sundays of preparation for the Great Fast. See Luke 19:1-10 for the story.

Zacchaeus seems to have lived a godly life prior to encountering the Savior. He already gave significant amounts of his earnings to the poor and sought to redress any wrongs he had committed. Nonetheless, he knew he had to climb the tree to see Jesus above the crowds. He was “of short stature” and simply couldn’t see.

With this in mind, I am pondering the idea of crowds and how easily they can blind us to reality.

As an example, I recently decided to delve into the shiny world of Pinterest.

My friends welcomed me with open arms and many re-pins, and I’ve compiled quite an account now of exciting ideas, humorous graphics, and blog posts that exist in this beautifully organized online realm. Since organization does not come easily for me, I have rather savored the ease with which I plunk a new idea onto the appropriate pinning board.

Before too long, my “Meals” board had pages and pages of ideas about 37 Freezer Ready Crockpot Dishes! 15 Easy Meal Plans! Multitudes of amazingly gorgeous dishes that I already know I have absolutely no chance to convincingly recreate in my own kitchen.

I’m wondering if I should just stop pinning now and designate the month of February as Pinterest “In Real Life” Month, in hopes of finally doing something with these pins, rather than feeling schmucky that my asparagus is not wrapped in bacon and my creative juices are not intentionally flowing, per the incredibly attractive .jpg file that found its way onto my “Writing” board.

Who has time for this kind of thing? I’m not talking about the pinning part. We all know, if we engage in such a thing, how pinning sucks us in with its promises of awesomeness and fantastic time-suckage. I love relaxing online with Facebook and other diversions, and Pinterest is no different.

What I mean is, who are these people who come up with step by step pictures of some dish and then create dazzling graphics with perfect fonts, all for the sake of some random person pinning it on their board?

And all these funny memes! Half the time while “relaxing” on Facebook, I’m cognizant of the fact that my own sense of humor has little hope of coming up with something so clever, let alone turning it into an image file and getting it to go viral.

pinterestGod bless you, Pin-makers, meme-makers, and inspirational-saying-sharers! You’re awesome.  I’m pretty impressed when I get to bed and all the dishes are in the dishwasher. I pat myself on the back when the table gets wiped down and looks clean and shiny when I wake up in the morning, for the whole 2 minutes that it lasts.

But if Pinterest is any indication, the world must be full of these people.

I’m not mocking that person. I just don’t know that person, in real life. My real life friends are busy slogging through diapers, getting their boobs sucked on by hungry babies, and stirring one-handed some pot of food that probably isn’t Pinterest-worthy (no offense).

There is an insidious lurking evil that comes from pinning over and over again these fantastic ideas. It is, as my friend put it recently, the Tyranny of the Undone. Since motherhood is already fraught with challenges in the area of “Getting to it all,” does Pinterest slither its way into our subconscious and increase our feelings of inadequacies as mothers?

I would argue that it just might. Excellence is certainly worth striving for, and we shouldn’t abandon the quest, but let’s let God help us recognize who He wants us to be and how He wants us to spend our time.

The best thing happened when Jesus saw Zacchaeus there in the tree—He greeted him, came into his house, and ate a meal with him.

And while I didn’t put it together at first, climbing a tree sounds an awful lot like embracing the Cross.

It’s not going to be easy, but finding a way to see above the crowds, embracing the Cross, and keeping our eyes on Jesus is still the only way to be Christian.

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