By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“ON SEEING AND BELIEVING”
St. Paul wrote to his Hebrew friends…
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.- Hebrews 11:1
This is one of those stories that challenges the old saying… “perception is reality.” I’ve never put much stock in that line as perception only provides a limited understanding until new information is added. So, perception isn’t reality until there’s no more detail to be added to the story.
So, here’s what happened…
A man from Iowa and his wife walked out of the front door of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans overlooking the quadrangle there… the one with the large statue of Andrew Jackson tipping his hat. As he scanned the area left to right and right to left, between the Café DuMonde and the Jax Brewery mall he quickly said to his wife, “Hurry, find a police officer! There’s a man being robbed at gunpoint!” He was sure of it!
Sure enough, right by the Lucky Dog stand a man stood there with his wallet wide open handing dollars over to another man with a pistol.
By the time the police officer arrived the two men were no longer at the place of the holdup but the man from Iowa noticed the man who was handing over the cash was now down the sidewalk right in front of New Orleans’ most famous coffee bar. They rushed to the man and the police officer said, “Excuse me sir, this man just witnessed you being robbed at gunpoint by the Lucky Dog stand.”
The local man looked bewildered and said, “Robbery? Oh, that. There was no robbery.” And that’s when he pulled out a 1957 Roy Rogers pearl handled six-shooter cap gun and that’s also when the police officer reached for his firearm.
“Whoa,” said the man. “Let me explain. There was no robbery. I’m an antiques dealer. My shop is just up Decatur St.”
The police officer relaxed his hand. The wife of the man from Iowa gave her husband a look!
“I have another friend,” said the man holding the Roy Rogers pistol, who is an antiques dealer also. His shop is on Canal St. and we often meet for lunch in between stores, especially if there’s business to conduct,” he went on. “So, that’s what we did today. He knew I wanted the pistol to sell to one of my customers and sir, I think you saw me paying my friend at the Lucky Dog stand. There wasn’t any robbery.” And everyone went on their way. God is good!
See? Perception isn’t always reality. It’s only a reality until new information surfaces. And as we live in a quick paced, sometimes knee-jerked reaction world it’s good to remember our opinions and feelings about ourselves and those around us are limited. Everything isn’t always what it seems to be… for better or worse! Or as one old friend said to me, “Things ain’t ever what they seem to be and trusting God to reveal the truth is always a better approach.” It takes time and understanding, and God has all day!
So, the next time someone tells you “perception is reality” just tell them… ‘sometimes’… unless you are watching a man getting robbed in broad daylight in New Orleans.”
Patience and kindness go a long way in our world. At least that’s my perception. Brian
Brian Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland and the lead pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Pearland. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi. Comments and questions can be sent to [email protected]