Sunday, March 4, 2012

life-and beyond - through believing eyes

A different view of the garden
WEEKEND REFLECTIONS: Yesterday (Saturday) was an interesting day. But somewhat difficult, to be honest. You see my muse left me. It really started Friday afternoon, when I translated three "must-do" assignments into several hours of non-productivity. So in the morning, after a short session of wheel-spinning, I backed off from the computer and resorted to yard work.

Blowing leaves out of the gutters was a great place to start because it's a whole other perspective from up there. The garden is still a mess, but it's a different view of the mess and I like new views. Getting on the roof immediately reminded me that I need to write from a different point of view more often.
I love my life, but it's too easy to get locked into a single-dimensional outlook. Several things have helped.

Geoff on his back porch this week with Sheryl, a dear friend from church
FIRST: First there's my brother. Geoff is generously letting me look at life from the perspective of someone with an increasingly clear view of the end of the journey (as we know it). I can't express how grateful I am for his candor and his willingness to share the struggle. Not a struggle against anything so much as a struggle to catch hold of so much more.

At the same time, I'm looking inward. It is the fate of the observer. I've always been an observer, then in recent years I've become a professional observer. It's inevitable that observers look at themselves; look into themselves. Geoff is a good lens through which to take in that view.

But it can be difficult. Sometimes practiced observers see into things to the extent that they can't help but cry because the beauty is so intense. And, sometimes, practiced observers share not only beauty but pain. There is a heavy weight of knowing this weekend, lodged just behind my eyes and pulling on my heart.

Connecticut tree - Naomi Campbell
THEN: Our daughter Naomi has always looked at the world differently, ever since she was four and woke up each morning declaring, "I have a thousand songs in my head..." Now little David is adding such a vibrancy to the home she shares with Craig. But Naomi still shifts my perspective via her joy and her creativity. I'm glad she's painting again, because I love the way she looks at, and into, her world.

Naomi looks around her through a lens of unwavering belief and genuine exuberance. Naomi doesn't just reflect the light, she creates light; she illuminates the way for others.

Heading for the roof
STEPLADDER: I had to climb a stepladder to look differently at the world Saturday morning. I kind of wish I had a patio up there, and somewhere to plug in my laptop. I could observe my way through an entire day, checking things out through new eyes.

It makes me sad when people refuse to see anything in a new light. We routinely attack other people's stories as if any narrative other than our own is offensive by definition. Creativity, novelty, and invention come under fire until the nonconformists see things our way, or pretend to see things our way, or conveniently go far, far away so we won't have to deal with them or their deviancy any more.

I could have stayed up here all day!
So I'm advocating a few careful listening exercises this week, especially for those of us who think we already have all the answers and who believe that other people simply need to listen to us....

Thanks Geoff; thanks Naomi; thanks, world. I'm listening - DEREK

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