What is Asking to be Looked At


DSC_0062

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

Advertisements

Everything is holy now…


I’ve only heard this song twice, the first just a couple of weeks ago as I sat mesmerized and crying while David Wilcox sang it over me and the rest of the Northern Ireland 2014 pilgrims. The second time right now, as I find it on Youtube and share it with you.

That first time I heard Peter Mayer’s ‘Holy Now’ in Belfast, I felt opened and washed by the lyrics and deeply understood in a way outside the music. I felt truth echo back to me around how I’ve been living out my lifelong version of a complex and oft times frustrating faith, a simple way that has seeped into my life and my writing for many years now. Glory in all it’s profound abundance, this sense that everything is holy now, has slowly seeped into my soul and grown into how I behold the world, it is the under girding of my poetry, it is how I find God.

So while I listened to Peter Mayer’s song, it broke over and through me with a deep thankfulness for having been opened to see the whole earth is full of the glory of God and in it to see Him, to be awestruck, and in my own way, say WOW! Everything, EVERYTHING IS holy now.

Yet as I write to you, my neighbour is cutting his lawn, large machines are hard at work digging and scraping and beeping and preparing what for 14 years has been an apple orchard behind our home, and my attempt at a time of contemplative silence has been cut off abruptly by science. Can I say this disappointment I feel today is holy now? Can I say the dog nudging me while I’m trying to pray is holy now? Can holiness be found in the sink full of dirty dishes and the piles of laundry and the weeding and watering and bill paying and dog nose prints on windows and spots on the carpet? My version of this truth about glory and holiness involves space and time and silence and proximity to rural landscapes and natural beauty. Not this version I’m experiencing right now… at least I don’t think so.

So how might God want to transform my heart to see holiness in noise and dirt and to do lists? Is that really who God has wired me to be? Or do I need to adjust how I live my life to line up more closely with the ways I see him and his glory best? Do I need to find new ways and new places of silence and contemplation and communion? Is it both and?

I think that’s closer to the truth of it. The more we know of ourselves, the more responsibility we take for how we live and the choices we make to be healthy and whole. And for me I know soul health and wholeness requires holy contemplative and life giving places and spaces and times. And the more we learn about God, the more opportunity we are given to be open to his ways of doing things, sometimes contrary to how we might naturally choose. While I know silence sustains me, I also know it’s also good and soulful for me to be stretched, to be opened to seeing holy in, as they song says, EVERYTHING. Not just the beautiful, but the ugly too. Not just the silence, but the noise.

As an introvert I find crowds and social events depleting. Oh, I love a good party, but I need time to gear up for it and to recover from it. The same is true for family holidays or other times with groups of people. I crave alone time, because in the silence I find myself and God coming together into a comfortable way of being and it is there I process and listen and fill up again ready for the next social interaction. Noise depletes me, and Northern Ireland taught me a new level of silence that, by comparison, makes living in Kelowna seem loud and brash. What was my happy place before I left, my garden porch in the shade of a quiet summer morning, is upon returning disturbed by things I have no control over yet offend me. Even the sound of my air conditioner grates on my ears and I’m longing to return to that remote rural Irish cottage with the sounds of sheep and lambs communing in the dusk. But I can’t go running back there… not yet. So how can I recreate what I have discovered is needed for the sustaining health of my soul? How do I accept what I cannot change and find good in it as well?

The settling in to everyday life after experiencing trips like Northern Ireland 2014 with potential life impacting new revelation, takes time. As I ask myself these questions of what now shall I do and recognize some shifts may be required, I also remember the wise warning of our retreat leaders who said, give it 6 months, don’t rush into anything, don’t go out and start a new business with someone whom you’ve met here, just allow what you have learned to settle in, find its place in your life. This is my life… this version of everything is holy now. The lessons must settle in here. I keep reminding myself of these words when visions of green walled fields and mist covered mountains call me back to that place of deep quiet that calmed me all the way down to my guts. And this from a woman whose guts are usually twisted up in knots!

For today, let me simply see holy in something I haven’t seen before. Let me see and hear and understand something new about where I am, this place and these people, this noise and this version of silence, this life. Help my heart to settle into my life here and all its holiness.

(And just now I realize the sounds of construction haven’t changed but I have been paying less attention to them. As I wrote to you the sounds blended into the background.)

DSC_0426

 

Naming one thousands gifts… days 9 and 10


Albert Namatjira refuelling for a trip to Alic...

Albert Namatjira refuelling for a trip to Alice Springs. Ampol branding is visible on the car itself as well as the bowser. Dodge B Series pickup truck, made 1948-53. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

138. driving, eyes never tired of new things, fresh tasting the feast

139. Fishtrap Creek and other word combinations

140. ethnic diversity

141. navigation systems

142. crab traps stacked on back a pickup truck

143. ocean inlets

144. wild blackberry bloom in ditch

145. 4 exciting games, no injuries, best scores ever

146. border crossings

147. patriotism, large flags

148. all five of us in the car

149. narrow roads

150. indian paintbrush, daisies, side of interstate 5

151. good radio

152. low cloud

153. husband driving, keeping us safe, getting us there and back

154. weathered barns, clusters of buildings, outbuildings

155. sons that said yes to the journey

156. a daughter who still wants my opinion on clothes

156. American Hershey chocolate tongue melt

And the following guest gifts offered up by my observant husband who wanted to know what I was so busy writing down in my notebook as we drove through the landscape on our way…

157. architecture

158. storage sheds in yard

159. car washes

160. hot days and cold pools

161. railway dome cars

162. flat water for skiing

and back to my personal notes…

163. song lyrics

164. traffic circles organizing flow

165. ‘adopted’ highways kept clean

166. lush grass

167. strawberry fields being harvested by workers

168. ripe raspberries on the bush

More from my observant husband who appears to like this looking…

169. trim cedar hedges

170. white fences and wildflowers

and me…

171. roads without curbs

172. level railway crossings

173. old highways

174. country churches

175. picnics

176. tandem tanker truck carrying milk

177. barns full of Holsteins

178. vernacular language

179. high mountain road, rainbows, double rainbows, sunset like the sky on fire, carrying it all in our minds

Footnote to self:  And in all of these, am I truly grateful, truly receiving all as gift from an abundant, lavishly loving God? Or, am I merely taking notice and making lists? Even then, is the enjoying each for what it is and being on the lookout for more, expectant of beauty and joy and grace, proof enough of a thankful heart? And why must I complicate things with thoughts such as these?

Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him?” saith the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:24 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

Journeying…

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