It has been awhile since I wrote about life among the Norwegians – my first parish during the BC years, before children. One of the things that I found amazing about the Norwegian farmers I worked with was their ability to SEE and then NOT SEE.

One morning before Church on a beautiful September Sunday I found my car wouldn’t start. Wouldn’t even click. I opened the hood because I actually know a thing or two and discovered that the old Sears Diehard had exploded. I intuitively knew to not trust it anymore so I went to plan B. It was a beautiful day, I had plenty of time, and my two country churches were 6 miles, mostly downhill, and then another 3 miles after that, all downhill. So I hopped on my bike and headed to church. I was dressed for work in my khaki dress pants, oxford blue clerical shirt with white collar, and my brown Florsheims but it was going to be an easy ride through the Driftless on a beautiful, quiet morning. Now I realized that I would be passing dozens of parishioners on my way to Church and anticipated some ‘good morning’s or ‘need a ride’s. I was surprised to find that I did not see a soul. I got to church, left my bike against the outside wall, unlocked and went in. After a while people started to filter in and dozens of people all said various versions of the same thing, “That was you biking by this morning. I was having coffee and I looked out and thought ‘That looks like Pastor Bacon biking there’ but then I thought, ‘Nah.’” That is SEE and then NOT SEE. The reason they could SEE and then NOT SEE was because it was not an emergency and if they saw and truly saw then their routine would get disrupted. If their routine got disrupted they might not drink their prescribed dosage of coffee, and their timing would get disrupted, the tomatoes might not get picked on time, they wouldn’t arrive at church at the precise moment to get their favorite parking spot, and the Vernon County mojo that contributes to the Packers winning might get all messed up, and the stars would fall from the sky. They loved routine, and since it wasn’t an emergency, they could SEE and then NOT SEE.

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