Days of Wonder: Steady Gaze

Tonight I sit in the church parking lot in the dark and wait for the youth to trickle out her doors. The moon shimmers on high and I roll down my window to see it better. There are no cricket sounds, no peepers—the heavy frost we’ve had these past few nights must have put those creatures to sleep. I’m feeling anxious about time again…about everything that needs doing.
The sanctuary is lit from the inside and I can see the choir start dissembling. Those church people filter out into the lot and I study them hard under the cover of night. I know something ugly and something beautiful about most every one—just as they do about me—and I’m trying to see which one shines through on their faces tonight.
I think mine must be shining with ugly.
I look away as they climb into their vehicles, slam car doors.
We buried one of our own this past weekend and we still haven’t gotten over the shock. The fear of it makes me want to shake these people…makes me want to wash their feet.
Do we really understand what matters most?
I stood in the hallway with a patient’s spouse today and when I heard about their child breaking down in the parking lot after visiting…I didn’t look away.
When he cried, I wanted to cry too, that good man said. But I knew I couldn’t.
And I stood there with my eyes burning because there are some things a child should never have to see. And later, I held another patient’s feet while their body spasmed and I didn’t look away.
So much of life is ministry and the moon ministers to me as I pray by its soft light in the church parking lot. The kids start to appear and I try to shake this weariness. I’m asking God why it’s easier to love strangers these days…why my heart feels like a stone when I look at this place tonight.

I’m not sure what He has to say about all that, though I might could guess. And just one line keeps echoing in my heart:
Don’t look away.

This is my day 17 of joining the 31 day-ers. They’ve ignited a fire and the flame of their passion is contagious. I know myself too well to say I’ll post every day…but I promise to try. If it sounds inviting to you and you don’t mind coming late to the party (like me), you can read more about the wave at The Nester’s place. She’s the hostess with the mostest.


  1. soulstops says

    oh, I can sense the heavy in your words as you looked with your heart and your eyes..sorry about all the losses…praying you sense His arms of love around you as you look, and that He sustains you …you are doing beautiful work, Laura …{{hugs}}

  2. pastordt says

    Wow. I know this weariness, this heaviness, this ugliness, this urge to bless and shake. And you are right – don’t look away. When you walk through a long season of suffering as you have been doing, that weariness sort of moves right on in and makes itself at home in your bones. Keep looking, keep moving, keep crying, keep living. The only way out is through. But you know that. Praying for you in the waiting and the wading through.

  3. amyscanderson says

    It takes a lot of courage not to look away. This all makes me think of the NIV of Psalm 141:8, “But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord. . . . ” Blessings for eyes that continue to see and may you have the right times for rest as well, dear Laura.

  4. kingfisher says

    God bless you, Laura, for being willing to “not look away.” However, I know sometimes your body and mind can be overwhelmed, and then I give you permission to either choose to look away, or find that you can hand all the burdens directly to Jesus and walk away from them. I’m sorry for your losses. I rejoice with you that you’re finding courage and strength in turning to Jesus Christ the Savior and Lord of all.

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