The Pursuit of Seeing: I Choose You

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When semesters get going, we feel the tension like a ton of bricks piled atop our lungs.

And because the boys are of jabbering age now, and progressing in vocabulary every moment, our time to really see each other is limited.

You sat there at the table, eating your leek soup with heavy eyelids– I could see them, because your glasses came off the minute you stepped in the door and rubbed your brow.

I shut off Gilmore Girls and the tap water when I saw you.

I heated up my coffee and sat down across from you, thinking, This is nice.

Then Isaiah woke up. My coffee got cold, and you grew more exhausted, rubbing your brow again.

I moved to the recliner to nurse him back to sleep, and you met with me across the room, huddled up on the black sofa.

You told me the news of your day, the gory game theory details and the vocabulary I’ll never quite understand.

There, in that moment, I looked at you and reminded myself of the treasure we have in each other, this relationship that has built upon itself every day over the last seven years.

And I told myself that these moments are the meat George Herbert talks about:

You must sit down, says Love,

and taste my meat:

So I did sit and eat.

These tiny, flickering, quickly come-and-gone spaces are life to us, the filling of our bellies and souls for every season.

And they are the moments I must choose, embrace, claim for our hearts, for our marriage and our family.

So when it’s quiet and you’re near, I choose you.

And when I’m barely able to catch your eye, I choose you.

When we’re knee deep in dishes and papers are due, I choose you.

And when the kindness of the Spirit huddles us close, I choose you.

And we sit and glean from Him, our souls becoming as children, molded by the words of their Father.

There, I choose you, too.

Once a month, we’re pursuing sight and viewing the dailyness of our lives with fresh vision and fresh spirit.

To read more from the series, click here.

The Pursuit of Seeing: The Glory Network

I have less than a handful of sister friends across the states who I can turn to via text message or phone call. It can be 2 words or 2,000, a stuttering and spluttering of what life is like in a day, and how deeply I need communion with God.

And then I’ve got tangible, right down the road friends who are becoming nearer and dearer family to us every day, and if I called, they’d answer, too, and pray, too, and love me out of the deep bellowing of grace in their hearts.

It’s an intricate network, this connecting woman to woman, soul to soul across all sorts of boundaries and lines– geographical, economic, social, spiritual– it’s a deep bond that shoots, like healthy blood through big veins.

I read about it in Acts, but perhaps it spans all the way back to Eve and her friends, to Ruth and Naomi, who cared for each other in their deep need.

I lay on the floor and watch the fan blades spin, air circulating up and down and through my lungs and back out again.

Isaiah pokes me in the eye and Eliot reads pretend thank-you notes.

I breathe in and out and watch the bleach-white blades, and all is time, spinning.

“The kingdom of home is the place of refuge, comfort, and inspiration.

It is a rich world where great souls can be formed, and from which men and women of great conviction and dedication can emerge.

It is the place where the models of marriage, love, and relationship are emulated and passed on to the next generation.

One of the great losses of this century is the lost imagination for what the home can be if shaped by the creative hand of God’s Spirit.” –Sally Clarkson

If the intricacy of a home can contain all of this, my place as a mother is, indeed, most intricately designed.

But the other day, Isaiah was sick and Travis and I cancelled a date we’d planned on for weeks. And my heart broke because I couldn’t walk arm-in-arm into a room full of colleagues with my husband, kindly beaming beside me.

And on that same day, a friend text me and asked questions that dragged the worries out of my heart and into the open air.

And another friend just said she was sorry, and still, I remembered that I’m not alone. Sitting on the chair, crying, watching those fan blades, breathing, but not alone.

The network is response and feedback. It’s encouragement and movement, constant heart-beating and life-sharing. It’s imagination that gives birth to newness here in my heart and here in my very own home, in my very own interactions with my boys.

And on the hard days, it’s actually God, spreading Himself into all of us, through the kindness of each other.

It’s a beautiful kind of glory, indeed.

 

 

Once a month, we’re pursuing sight and viewing the dailyness of our lives with fresh vision and fresh spirit.

To read more from the series, click here.

Join me by posting the link to your journey of seeing in the comments section below…

 

 

The Pursuit of Seeing: the gift of our kind beast

 

Once a month, we’re pursuing sight and viewing the dailyness of our lives with fresh vision and fresh spirit.

To read more from the series, click here.

Join me by posting the link to your journey of seeing in the comments section below…

 

It was late, the boys were in bed, and we were watching a Netflix show about King Arthur.

When there are no little hands grabbing his fur, I lay Sam down beside me and begin to shed off the outer coat with the razor-comb.

Gray, white, black, gristly hair fills the tan plastic bag beside me. The hair from his back is softer, but from his tail it’s the most coarse handful of fiber I’ve ever held.

Travis found Sam on a rock. He found him a few weeks after I flippantly said, “If we ever have a dog, can it be a husky?”

He found him a few weeks after my heart uttered this quiet request, God laughing in delight at the future, planned to the kindest detail.

Sam’s a vacuum-cleaner of a husky who eats Isaiah’s raspberry and tortilla chip crumbs off the floor of the dining room.

He’s our protector and our fierce guardian, and he sleeps at the foot of our bed every night as we slumber.

He used to roam our backyards, hunting squirrels and eating birds.

Now he watches people and their puppies pass by the balcony.

Do dogs dream of a better time? Do they close their eyes and imagine great adventures or squirrel pies?

My great adventurer of a dog has been a constant reminder to me of fierce love– our “wedding gift from God,” we’ve often called him. From the top of a rock to the hearth of our home, each one of them– he’s ours.

He’s getting older now, we see little signs of it. And as he sheds his fur, I shed something small with every stroke of the blade:

I shed the worrisome thoughts of the day;

I shed fears of future time;

I shed my grief;

I shed shallow breaths and take deep ones.

And I watch this beautiful beast, resting at my side.

Our constant companion for over six years, our Sam.

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The Pursuit of Seeing: the surrounding living

Once a month, we’re pursuing sight and viewing the dailyness of our lives with fresh vision and fresh spirit.

Join me by posting the link to your journey of seeing in the comments section below…

 

 

Today I looked around our apartment and saw things differently.

I saw toys. Lots of toys strewn in every direction. I held the army green truck in my hand and realized that lots of toys means lots of play, and two joyful boys.

I saw four grapes in a bowl. That means a full belly.

I saw wipes in bags: clean bottoms, clean water.

I saw piles of laundry, and remembered the piles of gifts we’ve been given by older boy cousins and friends.

I saw the husky hair scattered on wood floor and smashed into cream carpet– a place where he can rest and be loved.

It’s all perspective, isn’t it?

Oh, I’ve been given much…

I’m prone to sighing without even realizing I do it.

So today, I’d like to smile instead of sigh.

To recognize instead of becoming flustered.

Let us gain the gifts of joyful play and full bellies, clean water and safe places. Let us recognize the blessedness of life as it manifests itself in daily routine, as it fills every tiny space we call home.

This is pursuit.

This is seeing.

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What do you see?

 

 

The Pursuit of Seeing

There is seeing, and there is seeing.

Ann Voskamp mentions it in her book, One Thousand Gifts, and last summer when I read it, I felt like she put words to what I’d been trying to do for the past year or so.

There is a way to knowingly step outside ourselves and look around us– to see our family, our friends, our community– there’s a way to take all of that in as a gift.

I’ve written about it here before, when I’ve needed to stop and step back to see my boys and my husband. Even to see my God.

Maybe that’s what the Holy Spirit gives that is so valuable– a new way of seeing and beholding, a new way of being.

This morning I chopped onions and minced garlic and poured olive oil. I sprinkled cumin and dashed salt, I cracked pepper and rinsed beans and spooned rice.

And for a second I thought, All this work for a 20 minute lunch? What’s the point?

And then the Solomon inside of me gave way to something stronger, and I thought about how God must delight in the way we delight– that He must take joy in our cooking and in our eating, in our experiencing and in our seeing.

And if God can see that as precious, me standing in my sweatpants, making a mess of my kitchen so our family can eat– if He can cherish that, I should, too.

This next season is going to be hard, and I admit, I’m scared. I’m scared of not communicating enough, of not listening enough or not sharing enough. I’m scared of losing my own space, afraid that selfishness will strangle my joy.

So for the next 5 years (and then some), I need to stop and see.

 

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Photo by Travis Curtice

How does the blind man see? I would argue he sees with his whole being. He sees with his hands, his ears, his footsteps; he sees with his breath and his heart.

He sees with all that he is, all that is around him.

I’d like to see that way.

The Pursuit of Seeing is the pursuit of life, slowed-down.

If you’re part of the online mommy world, or even the minimalist realm, you’ll hear about it plenty: the push to slow down, the importance of simplifying and stopping and treasuring.

But can we stop reading about how to, and actually do it?

Dive in, be blind, experience your life with your whole being. Let it sink in.

This is a place of STORIES, and today my story was about smelling simmering veggies and cumin. It was about eating with my house full of men and recognizing– seeing –that it’s beautiful to share my table with them.

What do you see?

If you blog, join me in the journey– write your story, your pursuit, and post it in the comments section.

If you don’t blog…join us anyway. Let us know what you see.

We’ll be focusing on seeing monthly.

If you need a little nudge, choose your definition of seeing. Choose how you want to look:

–to come to know

–to perceive the importance of

–to care for

–to notice someone

–to become aware

–to imagine as possibility

Annie Dillard says it like this:

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf.

We must somehow take in a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here.

Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

Annie saw something in the creek bed, and she chose not to close her eyes.

Friends, let us open our eyes and see, that we may journey together in the adventurous pursuit of life sweetly lived.