What is Asking to be Looked At


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You are turning away again,

you know you are.

Call it what you will –

balancing the check-book, work,

sock-matching-sock tucked one inside the other,

there, there, almost done.

You check your email often,

tell yourself surely there is more,

something else that needs tending.

 

Meanwhile, right there,

just outside the glass and

watching with shy eyes from the shadows

of the old yew that needs cut back again

to let in the light, there is something –

asking to be looked at,

asking to be spoken.

 

It will not be revealed without tenderness.

It will not scream for your attention

or grab your knee like your brother used to

creeping down the stairs

and crawling under the Yamaha while you

repetitiously practiced scales.

This will be a slow unveiling.

 

Go outside.

Stand very still.

Wait. Listen. Ask.

Maybe now you will say

warm breeze, or good morning,

or sunshine on opening tulip. Then slowly, tenderly

you might rename each thing, one by one by one,

a crescendo of words pouring from your lips, glorious and unending…

and there will be no pain as your heart rips open.

 

LAE2017

You are free to choose, always.


Does remaining silent mean I am somehow complicit? Does speaking up mean I am judging? I don’t know. I’m just tired of normalizing trends that take what is inherently beautiful, and twist it into something else entirely.

Today I came across a Facebook post by a start up company I follow who makes custom leather boots. Their new post is marketing baby boots, because “you are never too young to rock your first pair…” And as I looked at the photograph of a tiny baby, dressed in a skull and crossbones diaper, with a pair of black leather high tops, a lumberjack plaid neck fleece, and laying on a bold graphic blanket, I was saddened. Why? Because I saw the potential for awe squelched by an all too common human desire for projection of image.

The baby in the photograph with bared belly and umbilical cord still healing, was only a couple of weeks old. Surely the parents of this beautiful new human were still in the process of adjusting and welcoming and healing themselves. Surely they were still sharing birth stories with their closest friends, describing the difference of before and after, the shock of their wide eyed and brand new unconditional love. Surely they were wearing out their phones taking photos, planning futures and parties and surely, somewhere in all that, they were struck by the miracle of what just happened…and the wonder and innocence of this creature now entrusted into their hands. Surely they see the helpless purity of the creature that is a blending of their DNA and the outcome of months of waiting. Surely…

But somehow, somewhere, in this particular ad campaign, and in society in general, I sense that the function of keeping children warm and dry has run amok and become a commercialized train wreck. And we’ve seen this, haven’t we? Little boys in gangsta wear, and little girls in belly tops. But babies? I fear we are now in the business of transforming our precious newborns into our own image, into our own idea of what is hip and cool and trendy, rather than resting for just a little while, in the unadorned, unseasoned, raw versions of who they are…from the very beginning.

And perhaps facebook posts and instagrams and the incessant need to show off images of our most personal and intimate treasures, including our newborns, perhaps our overwhelming desire to (over)share the visual, is causing us to lose sight of what matters most, what happens when we are off camera and naked and fully ourselves.

Today you can find niche fashion sites that allow you to outfit your baby boy in biker gear or tattoo sleeves, or your baby girl in slutty slogan onesies. You can find skull and crossbone slippers, diapers, and pretty much anything else in most mainstream outlets. And while how we dress our children is absolutely a personal matter of taste, and has been effected by cultural and social norms through the centuries, I just want to say I am sad about what is happening in 2015. And maybe it doesn’t matter to you, maybe this is far too serious a consideration when buying baby clothes, because they are just so cute and fun and everybody else is rocking them too. But maybe you find a hint of truth in what I’m suggesting. I wonder why we are so easily convinced of what is normal and acceptable. I wonder…

All I know is this. I am not willing to trade in my sense of awe at the warm curl of a newborn’s fingers around mine, or the poignant sight of first hair worn thin on the backs of tiny heads, or the way it feels to breathe her smell straight out of the bath, all wet and shiny and bright, or hear his first musical cooing. I will hang onto it tight, and I will celebrate the sweet innocence of new beginnings. And I will not tarnish my experience of the miracle or the glory I see in each brand new life, by bowing to clothes or accessories that suggest otherwise.

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Seriously, ladybugs?


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If I were to ask God for a significant recurring insect in my life, it would certainly not be a ladybug. Something more exotic perhaps, like a praying mantis, but not scary like a wasp or millipede. Nothing precious or pretty, nothing commonplace, please God. Let it be something with a bit of an edge to it, like the insect world’s version of a raptor, a hawk or falcon of the insect kingdom. But a ladybug? Shiny red, polka-dotted, embarrassingly cute… oh God, why that particular choice?

And, as if it weren’t bad enough to have had a ten year history (here and again, here) of encounters with these little red creatures, God continues to place them in my path. And I continue to notice. Either I find them or they find me, and it’s usually at a time when something significant is happening in my life that…poof… there they are again!

Still, they always come unexpected, and cause a sharp intake of breath that I hope is at least partially spiritually significant. These bugs hijack me, beg the question “Why?” (like most other things in my life) and have me asking, “What God, what are you saying in this, what would you have me learn in this?” And sometimes, I end up smiling, like there’s a private joke between me and the Almighty. So maybe I have come to terms with them as my significant bug species? I have not, nor will I ever, get a ladybug tattoo or wear representational jewellery. I have yet to witness any cool ladybug t’shirts. Those darn bugs keep showing up, and I keep wondering what they really mean?

Last weekend, 7th floor apartment in Vancouver, B.C. and I’m there with my young adult son helping him nest, watching him put together IKEA bookshelves and bed frame and it gets a little stuffy in the small studio and I go and open the sliding door to the balcony and there, in the track of the door frame…yes, you guessed it…ladybugs…3 dead ladybugs. Why? I have no idea. I’m not an expert in ladybug flight patterns, but 7 floors up seemed pretty high to me, let alone a little bug with translucent wings. And they were dead, again, dead and dried up. But this time there was no voice saying a word. Silence. There they were, and there I was. They were dead. I am alive. And these days I’ve taken to flying more. My son is leaving home, and I am still alive, still standing. Big changes, still standing. Big changes, still flying. Maybe that was it, more of a comparative analysis this time around? Was that it God? I don’t know.

And then this, again, these words,

Coincidence is the term used to describe two events which unexpectedly occur together in a way that makes one wonder if this is chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand.  John Terpstra, Skin Boat ~ Acts of Faith and Other Navigations

I’m choosing hand, and I’m beginning to see humour in it, how God might be enjoying a belly laugh when his kid (me) stops everything she is doing, everything she finds so vitally important, in the presence of this blatantly red yet miniscule stop sign! Yeah, maybe that’s it, it’s an attention getting thing. Whenever I get a little too hung up in my own way, my own pain, my inward focus, my work ethic, my sadness that my son has grown up and away, my, my, my… Oh my… then God says…

…consider this…

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothes [or whatever else…you choose what fills in the blank]? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…” Matthew 6:27-29

Stop, observe, consider. Maybe that’s it. About seeing.

Lesley-Anne

Soon and very soon… we are going to see!


I’m reading a book, actually devouring it between gulps and sighs and head nods because, although I have only just begun to touch the tip of what the author describes, I know in my life what the author knows to be true… and to borrow the words of a design icon Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886– 1969) “God is in the details”.

I imagine my eyes having scales on them, you know like the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ commercial where they give you an object lesson by letting you see through an increasing number of glasses, beer filled, to what it is like to be intoxicated while driving? Do you know the one I mean? Well, I imagine I am going through this life with scales or a level of dullness over my eyes and yet sometimes, like this morning when I was driving home from dropping off the kids at school, the scales peel back, just for a little while, and allow me to see things more clearly, more thankfully, more full of glory than ever before. And I have to wonder if you saw me right now, at this very moment, would my face be glowing because of it. Like my heart is? I wonder?Image

Anyway, you must walk, run, or google the nearest (online) bookseller and buy this book, read it, soak in it, in the possibility of living a full life because of how you live it and what you see in it and your response to that seeing. Knowing we don’t have long here, knowing there is more than meets the eye, yet our eyes (yes, and all of our senses, physical and spiritual) just might be what point us to the astounding glory of earth and it’s inhabitants (yes, us), and the very real possibility of a God who has designed/packed/put his fingerprints all over this planet so that EVERYTHING reflects/contains/points to a profound and utter glory of who he is… so that we will FIND HIM. Gosh, does this sound so crazy it just might be work? (blatant reference to one of our fav. family movies, The Masters of Disguise)

Here’s what happened as I drove home… and once I arrived…

I saw…with eyelids peeled back… a sign that said thank you, horses grazing on new spring grasses, a hawk reflecting the morning sun, flowers… pushing out their brightest and best show, a beautiful blue truck, a volkswagon camper… retro style one… so cool, my neighbour’s friendly hello, the garbage trucks with their new and updated (very much like the Canada Arm!) technology Imageand capacity to lift the cans off the ground rather than using back breaking manpower, classical music wafting from my neighbours piano, the softness of my dog’s ears… ALL THIS… and MORE! The tone of blue of the sky, the stacked poofs of cotton clouds resting softly in that low spot on the rolling tops of the Okanagan Highlands… YES, and MORE…

Thing is, I believe what I saw is such a minute portion of what is always all around me, yet had such an impact on me… my heart raced, the corners of my mouth turned up into a smile, my chest expanded, I breathed deeper, I felt thankfulness, gratitude, perspective, a desire to come home and take up close photos of the breathtaking beauty of a pine cone splashed by yellow light and laying on my concrete driveway… and other tiny and precious things in my garden.The minutia of this world filled with the glory of God! YES!!! And might I suggest I am still feeling the joy of that encounter… the author of that book I mentioned would agree. It is her experience too!

I believe it is true. God is in the details. There’s a text that says God’s glory is the fullness of the whole earth… WOW! When we slow down enough to look, He is there. He will speak. He is always speaking. And when I hear him (with my eyes, ears, heart…), I am undone.

Oh, the book… One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Buy it. Read it. It might just peel back your eyelids…let me know what you see!

Love you,

Lesley-Anne

Poetry Friday030


Things I saw while not looking

A lone robin — Spring’s ambassador —
hopping tentatively over the tired snow.

Red-wing blackbirds calling in raucous warbles
from hidden perches in the frozen marsh.

Three tundra swans banking wide white circles
in the valley below us, on our way home from school.

The sun painting my kitchen a watery yellow
through fingerprinted winter windows.

Lesley-Anne Evans
02/03/2009

Photo courtesy of Malcolm Evans