Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Opening The Eyes Of Our Hearts

We've seen these sights literally thousands of times, yet they never become background. John Paul drives, and I snatch the opportunity to look, just look out the window.

Years ago I rode on a bus to and from school every day, an hour plus each way. For thirteen years I rode that bus, and I never did get tired of looking out the window. I guess I've always been swimming in thought.

Patch worked fields blanket the landscape, somehow made lustrous by mottled whites and dimmed greens.

And after all these years of gazing, just looking, I'm stunned by the miracle of it all. How is it that our eyes, little spheres locked in our heads, can span horizons and penetrate heavens, clutch beauty to feed our souls? How do we take it all in?

This time that has passed, I have thanked God for beauty and the gift of appreciating His creation. I have thanked Him numerous times for my vision without grasping the enormity of what it physically takes for my eyes to see. Isn't it amazing that we can gaze at the ever changing landscape as we're driving and see it all, know it all, feel it all ??!!

We pull off the road to the spot where we are meeting a friend. No sign of our friend, and I notice we are parked under a tremendous Sycamore.

"Oh, look!" I tell the children excitedly. "There are Sycamore balls covering the grass. I'm going to hop out and get some for our nature collection. I think I'll even take a picture."

"Mom, you're crazy!" John Paul shakes his head.

"Yep. I'm crazy, John Paul. Don't ever forget that it's your enthusiasm for life that will keep you alive!"

"OK, Mom."

I hop out of the car and gather up Sycamore pods.

All the little ones cry out, "Can I hold one?! I want a ball!" I'm picturing seed fluff all over the car and wondering if I had made a mistake...

I gently tug one of the seeds loose from the swollen pod. 
"Do you know what's amazing? That enormous tree right over our heads started from a seed this big. Everything needed to make that tree grow, all the genetic information is held within this tiny seed."

Sam gives an audible gasp. He never knew this. And here I am, knowing it since I can't remember not knowing it, and I'm awestruck all over.

We go to the "Y", my head all spinning in miracle, and I come careening back to earth. There are two middle aged women having a conversation, unaware of my presence.

One of them says, "I am NEVER having kids. I hate them. I even hate the ones I rent." ( I think she watches children for her job.)

The other one kind of laughs. Enter: my children. The same woman (that said she hates children) is oohing and awing over them, telling them how cute they are. She talks a little about the children in her care during the day. She is all sweetness.

I tried not to judge this woman, but once again, the truths of the day, what God had been showing me all day came to perfect insight.

When I only see the inconvenience of children, people, life in general, My eyes are closed to the miracle. Right in front of me are countless miracles, and I am blinded by my own needs and selfishness. I am refusing to witness the miracle, to embrace the gift, to live in the present moment.

So much of being able to live in the present moment has to do with opening our eyes to the miracles, the "infinite treasures of the moment." We have to be able to sift the truth out of the turmoil: the truth of God's love, the truth of living, the truth of miracles everywhere present.

photo credit: Ben Smithdeal

Lent begins today, and I found this excerpt from Abandonment To Divine Providence heartening. I hope you will, as well. Praying for all of you, dear readers, to have a holy, peaceful, and fruitful Lent:

For those who abandon themselves to it, God's love contains every good thing, and if you long for it with all your heart and soul it will be yours. All God asks for is love, and if you search this kingdom where God alone rules, you can be quite sure you will find it.For if your heart is completely devoted to God, your heart itself is this treasure , this very kingdom which you desire so ardently. The moment we long for God and to obey his will, we enjoy him and all his gifts, and the fulfillment of our enjoyment exactly matches the extent of our desire for Him.

To love God is to want to love Him in all sincerity, and it is because we love Him that we want to serve Him as instruments through which he acts both through and in us. The activity of God is not related to any shrewdness shown by a simple and holy soul, but to its loving desires....Once God sees these good intentions, he ignores everything else and regards as having been done what would most certainly be done if the soul's good will were inspired by sounder reasons.

So good will need fear nothing. Would it fall, it stumbles under the protection of the almighty hand which never fails to guide and support it whenever it goes helps the soul when it falls into error because of its false judgement and makes it realize how it should mistrust its natural instincts and abandon itself absolutely to the infallible guidance of God.

(excerpt taken from Abandonment to Divine Providence, pg 114, emphasis mine)