Monday, November 28, 2005
Pines and Pears
I was sitting at the kitchen table writing in my journal and sipping coffee when I noticed two trees, side by side, on my neighbor's property 40 feet away. I noticed that I could easily see the clear outline of every leaf on the pear tree, but from that distance the pine looked fuzzy and unclear, no matter how much I squinted and tried to focus. It occurred to me that situations (and sometimes people!) are like that too--some are clear and easy to understand; others are less defined and harder to grasp. I wondered...is that difference inherent in the nature of the tree or in my eyes, or both? The shape of the leaves on the tree (and the personalities of some people and circumstances in some situations) have something to do with how easy they are to see; but also the ability of my own eyes (as well as the limitations caused by being at such a distance) have something to do with hindering or helping my own understanding.
The idea was helpful to me because I can sometimes work so hard at trying to understand situations that are beyond my ability to grasp--I keep working at it like a child wiggling a loose tooth. But usually I just have to put it all back in God's hands and say, "I know you'll give me more understanding about this when and if I should have it, but for now, it's beyond me. I just have to leave it with you."
And you know what? That works a lot better than squinting. :)
Friday, November 18, 2005
A Look in the Mirror
I read something yesterday that said most of us look in the mirror to see how we could be somebody else. If I just get a hair cut, fix that tooth, smooth those laugh lines...
The writer suggested that we might look in the mirror with a different motive: to see who's really there. It's a subtle idea, but important, I think. Two weeks ago I mentioned to my daughter that it would be interesting to change the color of my hair; she has been creative with hair color since fifth grade and I thought maybe I should lighten up a bit (literally and figuratively!). Then two nights ago, getting ready for bed, I paused and looked in the mirror. I noticed for the first time that I have natural red highlights in my hair. I never noticed that before. How is it possible that I've lived 44 years and never known that about myself?
When I read the writer's words yesterday, it came clear to me. I was in such a hurry trying to look better, be better, behave better, that I didn't notice the highlights I already had. Today I want to stop the construction I tend to do on myself and take a break with the intention of making room for a real sense of understanding and appreciation of what's already here. Maybe you'll pause for a moment and do it with me. A collective breath in which we can stop, open our eyes and hearts, and just notice how we shine right now could feel like a real homecoming.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Last night Georgie woke me up around 2:30am so she could go outside. Everything was so quiet. Even though it was cold, I stepped outside on the deck in my pajamas and looked up. The stars were so bright and so plentiful--they just filled the sky with their varied brightness. Some were large and bright; some were small and faint; some were clustered together in recognizable patterns (the little dipper and Orion's belt); others seemed to be off alone in the stratosphere.
I thought how much like us the stars seem, different and similar, miraculous and unique while sharing a common luminescent purpose. I wonder, looking Earthward from the perspective of the stars, how we might shine for God? Some brightly, some dimly, some in groups, some alone--but all shining.