Anyone else out there grow up with at least one parent convinced that if you didn’t have net curtains covering your windows every single neighbour and passerby would spend all their free time watching your family eat dinner or watch TV? Anyone else ever go past a house where you can see the occupants living a net curtain free existence and wonder how they sleep at night knowing that everyone who went past during that last hour saw them on the sofa in their PJs crying over X-Factor (not that I would ever do that)? Anyone else feel naked without their privacy being protected and prying eyes kept at bay with a few inches of net?
Anyone but me guilty of all three?
Time for a confession: almost every room in my house has net curtains. I find it hard to envisage life without them.
The windows in my bedroom overlook the garden, adjoining gardens and then the gardens that back onto my garden, the houses that belong to those gardens and then I can see a bit of the other side of the valley (can you even have valleys in a city?). As such, it sometimes feels that when I look out of my windows half the world and his mum can see into my room. Excellent for watching fireworks on bonfire night but not so excellent when you've a green face-mask on and you’re dancing around your room singing along to Glee (not that I would do this either). So I usually have net curtains strung across my windows to protect me from (the nonexistent) prying eyes. Not once when I’ve looked out my window have I ever seen someone else look out theirs too. And in the previous days of school revision and in the current days of unemployment staring out the window happens a lot.
A few days ago I decided to clean my bedroom windows. And for some unknown reason (temporary madness or something) I decided to push back the net curtains.
I could see EVERYTHING (or as much as you can see in gardens and backs of houses). But seriously, it felt like I was living outside. So now, whenever I’m bored of searching for jobs or whatever, I can vacantly stare out of my window without having to hold the net curtain up and feel like a really obvious spy/stalker.
But the best thing?
Every evening (excluding rain clouds and winter and all that) I’m treated to an amazing display of colour and cloud and shadow and sunlight as the sun disappears behind the other side of the valley.
Today I saw cloud, blue sky, purples, greys, white and orange. And at the centre, a blinding brilliant bright light that I knew I shouldn’t look at but couldn’t help doing anyway.
And today I wondered how many of these had I missed when the net curtain was there. How many times had I missed the opportunity to witness the sun disappearing from sight in such an amazing display of pure awesome? And I don’t even like nature.
And of course, in typical Christian fashion, my mind soon turned to God. How many times had the ‘net curtain’ in my life prevented me from seeing Him? How many times had food, uni, internet, music, friends and family stopped me from seeing God at work? How many times has my own stubbornness, laziness and lack of self-control stopped me from moving the curtain? How many times had I sat by the curtain and never considered what was beyond it?
How could I have been content with this?
Some might argue what about when the clouds are there? What if you can’t see the sky? What about winter when the sun sets before anyone is even awake?!
I would reply that they’re taking this analogy too far, but for the sake of discussion (never argument), I would claim external factors. Something other than me getting in the way. At no point does this mean that God is not there. That He is not working. That He is not speaking to us. But maybe something outside our control is getting in the way.
Maybe God doesn’t seem to be there right now. Maybe you’re struggling to remove your net curtain. Whatever it is, I want to know that God is there. He is always there. Talk to Him.