On the story of Mary Magdalene
I noticed that as I have been getting older, I have started to enjoy the slower things in life. Maybe it was true what they said about old people and slowness. I noticed this when one day I was walking around an art gallery in my hometown, and though none of the paintings were especially mind-blowing, I for some reason was taking my time. The paintings were of nothing spectacular, and the more I thought about them, I realized that they were of the most ordinary things that were seen from day to day. A kitchen with a bowl of fruit. A man eating a bowl of soup. A flock of birds flying over water. A flower. Perhaps my younger self would have begged to leave. Instead I stayed, and saw, and appreciated.
Maybe this was the purpose of art, to make people slow down, stay, and appreciate what was typically unappreciated. Everyday I passed by my kitchen that had a bowl of fruit, yet I never noticed it until I slowed down. Same with the birds over the water. Same with the flowers. Then I started to read more. Then I started to write more. Then I started to go on walks. Surely I was growing old, for my younger self would have been bored to tears with any combination of these. The thing with reading and writing was that no matter how fast I wanted to go, I could only go as fast as my eyes could read and my hands could write. The thing with walking was that no matter what I saw when doing it, no matter what I thought I saw as I walked by something, I always had time to notice it. I figured that this was what people loved about walking, but then again, I figured this was what people hated about it too. While running or biking or driving, I saw things at a blur, and because of this, I always saw what I expected to see. It was easy to see what I expected to see when going fast. It was easy to see a bird in the sky when all I saw was a black spec, or the ocean when all I saw was a glimmer in blue. It was easy to see flowers in bushes when all I saw were colors on green, or people’s faces when all I saw were moving clothes. Walking took the blur out of seeing. Walking took the ordinary out of creation. Maybe it was true that I was growing old, but maybe instead it was me being able to see without the blur for the first time, or seeing creation out of the ordinary.
If Mary Magdalene had learned anything that day by the tomb, it was this very lesson, for previously, especially after what had just happened, her life was being lived in a blur. It was easy for her to see a star when all she saw was a light in the sky, or a pillow when all she saw was a lump on her bed. It was easy for her to see a gardener when all she saw was a man outside of the tomb, and unfortunately for her, this man happened to be God. It was easy for her to see what she expected to see, as opposed to the miracle that had just occurred before her eyes, and it was not until Jesus called her by name did she realize that she had just failed to notice the biggest event of all of human history. I suppose she had reason to cry. I would have too. If I had passed by something extraordinary and took it to be rather ordinary, I would have broken down too. As it turned out, I have done it way too often.
On another note, I started to listen closer to the lyrics of songs, to add to my list of slowness. Maybe I was indeed growing old. What I came to realize was that although these artists may have been hiding underlying messages in their songs, maybe they were just rather plain instead. Maybe by trying to examine too much I was missing the point. Maybe Paul McCartney was just trying to get me to notice the birds singing in the trees when he sang Blackbird, and the rest of the Beatles were just trying to get me to notice the sunrise when they sang Here Comes the Sun, and when I slowed down and took the time to notice this sunrise I noticed something about light itself as well. It was not something that was seen as a flower was seen or a flock of birds was seen, yet it was something that allowed me to see. Jesus said that he was the light of the world. Maybe this was why Mary could not see him initially. Perhaps this was why none of us could. For our own sake, we can only hope that he calls us by name the way he did Mary so that we could see what we have been missing out on our whole entire lives.