“When I arrived home from Boston, I realized there were no pictures on my mantel.”

Donald Miller

Have you noticed that other people display pictures of children and grandchildren that are years or decades old? Do you have up-to-date pictures of your adult children on your wall—either Facebook or drywall? Admittedly it is easier with Facebook. My bet is—if you have a smartphone, you are more apt to have up-to-date pictures of friends and family and very few old pictures of them.

As I contemplated Donald Miller’s realization about his relationships, a rooster started crowing in our neighborhood. When I called Carole’s attention to it, she said, “Yes, it crows a lot.” What? That means—I’m not paying attention! I’m usually awake early enough to awaken the rooster, but I’ve missed or didn’t hear him.

Miller’s words are shaking me into consciousness. I’m not taking care of business—all my pictures are old or I have taken them off the mantel. I’m wondering if preoccupation has become my occupation with a minor in oblivious.

One of the movie makers said to Miller, “It’s not a book; it’s a movie. We have to show it. A character is what he does.” (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned While Editing My Life.  2009 Thomas Nelson)

Miller writes about a friend who described the change a new baby had brought into his thinking and how he was seeing what a treasure his wife is. The next few words indicated that the new father had not said a word to his wife. Miller says to us:

“She only knows what he says and what he does, not what he thinks and what he feels.”

There’s that rooster, again. A character is what he does.

 D. Dean Benton

Benton Quest House

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