We need our space. More specifically, we need our space in order to be able to see things clearly. From the world of anatomy we learn that the term for this space, or distance, is the amplitude of accommodation. It is a measurement of the eye’s ability to focus clearly on objects at near distances. Our eyes have “ciliary body” tissues that contract and relax to adjust the lens of each eye in order to focus well. Each person needs a certain distance to be able to see clearly. While it is not something any of us are thrilled about, in fact, the distance needed to focus on object up close gets longer as we get older. The amplitude of accommodation for a child is usually about 2-3 inches, for a young adult 4-6 inches, for a 45-year-old adult around 20 inches, before going up to as much as 60 inches later in life. This gives new meaning to needing our space, doesn’t it?
Regardless of how the numbers vary, the truth remains; everyone of us can see the world more clearly when viewing it from some distance. We need distance to get perspective. Our minds oftentimes need the same thing. How many times have we been helped by stepping back to see the bigger picture? When we are able to focus beyond the object in front of our vision to see the surrounding context, we are so much better able to assess the situation. It has happened countless time when we sit opposite a trusted friend and shared our story, only to find that hearing it out loud and gaining their perspective sharpens our ability to understand and comprehend. This is where growth happens. This is where clarity is achieved.
That is exactly what our annual Charge Conference this week allowed our leadership at Epworth the chance to do; step back, and get some perspective. When we take a step back, we are able to look back and see where we have come from. We are also able to look forward and see where it is we are going. The beauty of being able to allow our eyes to see both directions is truly a gift of God. For it is God who has placed us in His great story, that has a clear beginning and end, and it is God who wants us to find our place in His story of the world’s redemption.
Let us offer words of appreciation to all of our leaders who have served with distinction this past year, and to all of those who are continuing on or joining their ranks in the coming year. Also, a special word of thanks to Susan Snider, our really great Church Administrator, who helped compile numbers, lists, signatures and names to allow our night to be one of celebration. Most of all, let us give thanks to the One who showers us with time and talent that the great work of the Kingdom might happen.
Grace and Peace to you, Scott