Seeing

He was drawing a picture of a sunlit forest.

He drew a brown trunk.

Then a green lollypop top.

When he drew a black circle in the middle of the trunk with the word “hoo” coming out from it, I had to turn away to hide my smile.

The art teacher stood behind my six-year-old son with eyebrows raised, amusement thinly veiled.

“He likes to draw,” she said to me, with a smile.

What happened next, I cannot explain.

She knelt down beside him and gently directed his attention to the picture he was trying to recreate. She showed him how the trees deeper in the forest looked higher up on the page, and how to add horizon to ground them with the others. She showed him how the leafy foliage overlapped to create a beautiful umbrella and how to use light and shadow to create individual leaves.

“Do you see this trunk? There is brown in it, but look closer. What other colors do you see? There’s not only brown, is there?”

She moved around the table, making similar points for other students. Each time she directed attention to the image being copied.

“Look” she said, or “See”.

I was mesmerized.

She was not teaching how to draw.

She was teaching how to see.

I watched my son’s artwork come alive with shapes and colors. For that moment, he stopped seeing the world as flat…and began to see what it was really made of.

All because of a great teacher and some practice.

Sometimes we need a little help seeing.

We need a teacher to help adjust our vision.

Practice…practice seeing with His eyes.

This is what I do.

**artwork by Jeffrey Boggess at age 6.

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For a lesson on seeing, visit L.L. Barkat and try her “close your eyes” challenge. Here is my offering:

The Long Ride Home

I close my eyes and I can still see
trees passing by through windows.

Dappled lights—leaf shadows–

pass over faces, like hands

dangling ribbons of sunshine.

And dusty veil rises to meet
as wheel gives wing to earthen road.

Steady thrum of engine–this lullaby–
and knees curl up
against the seat in front

as body jostles with the rocking
of this
frenetic cradle.

The steady chatter
of childhood friends
a quiet song for the ride.

But this one stays
tucked down in seat–
invisible to searching eyes–

nose buried in book

to pass

the long ride home.

Into the hollow
where God’s hand has hidden

this treasure

inside of dusty roads
and
scattered green.

When I close my eyes
I see it all
as it used to be.

But I am not there.

This lost treasure has been found.

Beauty

Looking for beauty—

Amidst mounds of laundry, dirty floors and the peace-stealing noise of a football game.

I need a story, I need a song; a small handful of beauty is all I seek; enough to get me through today.

Eyes graze paints—blank canvas. Hands are itching to fill it with color, but I am not ready. Sketches still in my head, ideas incomplete.

So I turn away.

This unanswered call for beauty pounds in my head, places bitter words on my tongue, ready to fall should the opportunity arise.

Alone. I need to be.

I escape to the quiet.

Laundry undone. Floors still chunky. The question of dinner niggling.

These things must wait. The world must stop.

For if I don’t find a small piece of beauty, I might start crying and not be able to stop.

Then I see it.

This old book.

Untouched since college days. Days before children and husband and regular meals.

These dead poets call out to me.

I run my fingers through the onion skin pages.

This is the beauty that I grasp.

I inhale it with my eyes.

It nourishes me, the breath of life.

Beauty:


To the Evening Star by William Blake


Thou fair-hair’d angel of the evening, Now, while the sun rests on the mountains, light

Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown

Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!

Smile on our loves; and, while thou drawest the

Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew

On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes

In timely sleep. Let thy west wind sleep on

The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,

And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,

Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,

And the lion glares thro’ the dun forest:

The fleeces of our flocks are cover’d with

They sacred dew: protect them with thine influence.

I look out the window and see the blue curtains of the sky being drawn.

Silver dew beginning to condense on shimmery leaves.

The moon—a tiny sliver cresting over the trees.

I see beauty everywhere.

I see the beauty of my life.

These words have the power to open my eyes, to renew my heart.

As silver moonsickle rises, I am thinking not of Blake’s Evening Star. It is the beauty of my bright Morning Star that makes me weep.

Beauty. He has sprinkled it everywhere.

Sometimes, I forget.

These eyes need the scales stripped away. Sometimes it takes an old dead poet, or a song, perhaps a story to remind me how beautiful He is.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” –Rev. 22:16

Supermarket Poetry

At the supermarket today, minding my own business. Little cutie and mom wander into my shopping space. She couldn’t have been more than three.

“Mommy,” she says, “I have a poem I want to tell you.”

Mom is distracted. Looking at cans, putting things in the cart. She doesn’t respond.

“Is that ok? Just a little poem?”

Mom says something nondescript. Still no eye contact. We moms have a lot on our minds.

I pause. Pretend to read the label a moment longer.

“I smell the flower, it smells sweetie sweet.
The birdie sounds tweety tweet.
Berries are my favorite tweet.” (She actually said tweet instead of treat. Cute, or what?)

There was more, but mom was walking away and taking the poem with her.

I stood in the aisle, lonely now, repeating the brilliant words of this poem in my head. They made me smile.

How sad, thought I, that the mom missed this precious moment. And then: How many moments like this have I missed? Too many.

Life is crazy, and sometimes…sometimes I just don’t have enough to give.

But here is what God has been telling me lately: Every moment is sacred.

Life goes too fast. To slow down and actually be there in each moment; this is what true living is all about. Instead of impatience, always thinking of the next moment and not appreciating the present; instead, to see my world with eyes of love…this is what Jesus wants me to do.

To be present in each moment.

It sounds so simple.

Yet…I know I will fail. Over and over again.

But I must try.

Because I want to smell the flowers, sweetie sweet. And hear the birds, tweety tweet.

But most of all, when this life is over, I want to know that I let love lead me through it. Not time. Or fear. Or shame. Not money, or things. Just love.

Every moment is sacred. I want to live like I believe this.

Because I do.