A steady stream of cars and pedestrians pass by Metrobot every day without so much as a glance. The large robot-like statue stands on the corner of 6th and Walnut Street in Cincinnati and seemingly leaped out of the pages of my college art history book and my memory. I recall Dr. Gillespie telling us how it was created by Nam June Piak, one of the first cool artists to utilize technology in his creations. Even though Metrobot is 27 feet tall, throngs of people are just too busy to notice him.
Busyness isn’t always the problem. Sometimes we can just be standing around and still be oblivious. I discovered this when I darted into the Scripps Building downtown hoping to powder my nose. While the security guards were conveying they had no public restrooms, a large painting at the end of the lobby caught my eye. Forgetting my mission, I asked them, “Is that a real Lichtenstien?!” They shrugged as if to say “Don’t know. Don’t care.” So obviously I had to investigate. As I left the building, I told the guards it was indeed the real deal and commented jokingly “Sometimes we’re in the presence of greatness and don’t even know it.”
It’s safe to say occasionally we have identity issues. One source growing up that taught me a lot about identification was 4-H. We learned about various plants, trees and bird species. There’s bedstraw, used by the pioneers to make mattresses because it has a natural insect repellent. Those are touch-me-nots, which means, of course, you have to touch them and watch the fun way seeds disperse. And have you ever heard the legend around one of my favorite wild flowers, the Queen Anne’s Lace? Usually, the more we learn about something and gather details, the greater the appreciation.
This becomes even truer when we consider people. I’m convinced everyone has an interesting life story and often the seemingly ordinary people who cross our path might just be the real deal so to speak. Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” What if we treated everyone as though they might be angels? We’d probably be more patient and hospitable and more humble in our responses.
When my sister, Cindy, was a high schooler she worked as a waitress in the restaurant at Holly River State Park. During an annual Youth Conservation Day held there, she actually knew she was in the presence of greatness because her customer was none other than the great Maxine Scarbro. Her name sounds like a superhero, and to us 4-H kids she sort of was. She was the director of the WV Youth Conservation Program, sponsored by the State of WV Department of Natural Resources and The Sears and Roebuck Company. Out of the 3000+ people in attendance that day, Maxine Scarbro ended up at Cindy’s table…and in her awestruck adoration, Sis poured her a cup of coffee…and kept pouring and pouring until it overflowed onto the table. Like the end of Psalm 23:5, her “cup runneth over”
I propose our cup too will runneth over when we recognize we are in the presence of Greatness. We just have to open the Bible and read scriptures which will teach us identification. Instead of various leaves and plants, we’ll learn to identify God’s character and our purpose. And we learn the greatest things around us aren’t statues or paintings…There’s 100 percent probability that even right now you’re in the presence of Greatness. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I pray we’re not too busy or too carefree to notice Him.
Janet Cowger- Fliegel