To see is to surrender assumptions & “the way it’s always been” in order to discover what really is. (from my 1st “One Word 2012” post)
I knew committing to a simple three letter word was going to be easier said than done, but I don’t think I knew just how much wrestling three letters could incite.
I also don’t think I knew how prophetic that sentence above was going to be – the shattering of assumptions has been a theme of my life in 2012.
Seeing is hard work. But it’s life-changing work – for me & for others. Seeing slowed me down. It fostered gratitude. It changed my perspective. Seeing myself taught me the value of grace. Seeing others replaced judgement with love & compassion.
At the end of it all, I come back to two things:
1. Seeing is about choosing to be vulnerable to life.
2. With seeing comes responsibility to act
My reality was redefined in 2012 because I opened the eyes of my soul. The challenge I’m left with is to do something about it. And that, my friends, is what 2013 shall be for.
Did you have a word for 2012? I’d love to hear what you learned!
p.s. – Even Seth Godin is encouraging more of us to do the work of seeing
When we are present, we see that there really is a Divine Plan and that it is happening right now. Consciously participating in the miraculous unfolding of reality is the Holy Work, and it is the greatest source of satisfaction that we can have. (from “Understanding the Enneagram”)
Whether it’s seeing the stories written in a friend’s hands of a land far away, catching the light on Spring blossoms, the setting sun hitting the grass just right, the vibrant colors of spring, soaking up the warm sunshine, running through the falling rain, the urban textures of metal & brick, broken glass, a worn out sign, or weathered wood; the ordinary becomes truly magical when you stop long enough to soak it in.
Three months into focusing on seeing, I’ve come to realize that seeing cannot help but foster gratitude; which is ultimately worship. And as a creature designed to worship my Creator, I am without question most alive when I worship. And so, seeing is life. Seeing the magical in the ordinary has become my key to life. When my soul feels parched, my heart heavy, seeing quenches the thirst & slowly my heart lifts its head to see the beauty & life not just on the other side of the struggle but right in the middle of it.
To consciously participate in the miraculous unfolding of reality…that is my goal this week. Will you join me?
In high school one of my favorite movies was “Save the Last Dance.” (Okay, so maybe I can still recite it line by line when I watch it.)
There’s a scene where good friends Chenile & Sarah are sitting in the waiting room of a free clinic having a conversation about “different worlds.” The room is full of sick screaming kids like Chenile’s son and young parents who are at their wits end as they wait to see a doctor. At one point Chenile says to Sarah:
“You wanna be a friend? Don’t just be here to be here. Open up your pretty brown eyes & look the hell around.”
“Don’t just be here to be here.”
Don’t go through life half asleep, wake up. Don’t stay numb, feel. Don’t just survive, thrive. Don’t just look, see.
In our always on, always running, uber-connected world it’s easy to just be here. All of the noise makes it hard for the eyes of my heart & soul to see the grace in every moment. And on those days when my heart & soul are having trouble seeing, I’m particularly grateful for eyes that lead me to worship, eyes that can help me to slow time if I will open them up & look around…if I will choose to see.
It’s the discipline of seeing…of opening up my eyes & looking around…that helps me to do more than just be here to be here. It’s what helps me to be fully present in any given moment. I have to train my eyes to slow me down, to cause me to pause and soak in the beauty that surrounds me, to take the time to see people & to make people feel seen, to see God’s goodness in every moment of the good days & the bad.
What habits & disciplines help you do more than simply be here?
The weather in Nashville this week has been Spring perfect – 80 degrees & sunshine until mid to late afternoon at which time thunderstorms roll in. Around 8pm the rain clears out & the perfectly cool Spring evenings take it’s place. The weather I’d have in heaven if it was up to me. :)
This week has also been challenging. I’ve been restless. Unfocused. Frustrated that I can’t grip life neatly in my two hands. But there’s been a reminder in the middle of every single one of those thunderstorms – there is beauty not just on the other side of but in the middle of the storm…of the restlessness, the frustration, the questions…if I will only seek it out.
Yes, beauty in, not just on the other side of. It’s easy to believe in beauty on the other side because it comes to us. It drops itself into our hands & becomes tangible. But beauty in the middle of the storm…in the hard places…it must be searched for, hunted down, & taken hold of. It requires choosing to believe, to rely on faith, & to call on hope with courage.
But, if I’m going to believe in a God who makes beautiful things out of the dust I have to believe in a God who makes beautiful things out of the falling building as it is in the process of crumbling to pieces. A God who promises not freedom from the storm but peace in the middle of it. Who offers hope in the middle of the hurt not just in the healing. Who makes the sun shine even as the rain comes pouring down. A God who says I know the journey is painful right now but I’m not going to let you walk it alone.
What beauty do you see the middle of your storm right now? Have you found it?
“I’ll sing the song if you can play it on the guitar,” he said.
A google search later on a nearby iPhone & chords were in the guitar player’s hand.
“Let’s do it,” she said.
He stumbled through the first few notes…off-key & out of rhythm. Forgetting the words as he went. It was an embarrassing train-wreck in the making. A potential ego boost for the rest of the room.
But they chose to rewrite the ending of this story.
First the guitarist joined in, then the redhead on the couch, another “I love to sing but I’m not a singer” guy, next the long-haired blonde with an accent…soon the entire group was singing. A classic that had high school flashbacks playing in all of our minds.
Instead of embarrassment the ending was one of community. When he began to stumble…to lose the melody…the group quickly stepped in to carry him along for a bit. It may sound silly, but I see Jesus in these moments clear as day. His love & his life feel tangible for just a moment.
I can’t guarantee you that all of those people in the room knew who Love is, but they certainly seemed to know what it means to live love. And I have a group of strangers to thank for helping me see Love just a bit more clearly…if even only for a moment.