Seeing with New Eyes

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I had cataract surgery done a week and a half ago. I chickened out last year–something about a knife near the eyes bit! But I was getting desperate, so I did not read any contraindications and just went for it. I had not been able to drive at night for over 2 years, and even daily activities were becoming a strain. I probably should have asked more questions, though, because rather than a piece of cake, this “routine” surgery was more like liver and onions–more uncomfortable than I thought it would be.

I am very chemically sensitive, so having gotten through the procedure with fairly minor and endurable hiccups, the worst part became the reaction to the steroid drops which are needed for speedy healing. This is a five-week process, and I have quite some time to go, but I hope the worst is over.

That was the bad and the ugly. The good part is that somebody turned on the lights! Whites are whiter and colors are brighter, not to mention that everything has distinct edges and not fuzzy, ever-changing ones. The green in the traffic light is . . . well, green green! It is almost like a different color. It is not preferred by me to undergo any surgery, but given the positive change in my sight, I think it was worth it!

My eyes are blue blue again. Haven’t been like this since forever! You don’t think about it because the discoloration and hardening happens slowly over time.  Even my own photographic work is brighter and more colorful. And I have discovered I am a much better photographer than I thought. 🙂

We don’t become aware of the hardening process that alters so much of what we see because it happens bit by bit, year by year. And only when it cannot be ignored any longer do we even recognize it is something to be dealt with. I am thinking that is kind of like what happens with our hearts. If betrayals and loss, disappointments and disillusionment build up, then over time the hardening becomes something to radically deal with. It interferes with our ability to prosper and see life and mission clearly. But it starts small, and it builds layer upon layer. I am not sure how to prevent that from destroying my joy, but my desire is that I would become aware of the hurts that bind and settle down into my spirit.

May I hold lightly to pain and hold tightly to renewal is my prayer.

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My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Once Again

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These witchy trees, bare and lifeless, cold and leafless:
One might wonder where life has gone and if all hope is gone,
receded into the dark earth. But
in one moment, that gifted second,
a nub of green sprouts, a speck of promise appears, and the sleeper rises,
stretches to the sky. Renewal happens once again—
from death to life.
That these dormant praises in me would rise again, unchained.
That these sleeping sermons once more would reach my mouth that I may speak of Your wonder,
once again.

 

My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Have Mercy

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Oh, Lord of the broken and heartsick,
of the world weary and tumult tossed,
have mercy.
Oh, Lord of the fractured and failing,
of the wounded and flailing,
have mercy on us.

May our beliefs align with Your truths,
and may our weakness not hinder Your kingdom work
here in this battleground
between earth and heaven,
between the cross and the crown.

Oh, Lord of the blind and beleaguered,
the willing but wanting,
have mercy on us here below.

May our hearts break for the living lost
and our hands be quick to holy tasks
here on this hallowed ground
between world and wonder,
between sacrifice and song.

Oh, Lord, have mercy on us here below, we pray.

 

Upside-down World

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When what was and now is not happens in a wisp of a moment,
when friends become foes, exchanging their trust for biting and isolating words,

then it is plain to see that we are living in an upside-down world.

When conversations meant to break down barriers instead erect the worst kind of walls,
when what I see and what you see suddenly are
oddly at odds
to the vision once shared,

then it is pain to see that we are as much a part of this upside-down world as everyone we have observed from afar. Tut, tut, what a shame it was. And is.
We are in it, of it, and yearning for all to be made right.

What makes it worse is that the reflection is somewhat like what we hope for; but
in its rippling distortion and ever-changing color, what’s hoped for seems like some cruel illusion.

Far off, unattainable, yet present enough to hunger the soul.
======================
Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

 

These Carnal Threads

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I look down at my hands and know that within those tissues and cells, blood is coursing,
coming from,
going to,
minute after minute, circuit upon circuit. But where is my soul in this pink, freckled flesh? Where is my spirit in this troubled, pondering life?

Is the soul hitching a ride on red blood cells as they careen by the white?
Is my spirit holed up in one of my vital organs? My brain, maybe? Concentrated in a command center, overseeing all my worldly cognition.
Perhaps soul and spirit share space, intertwined in the four chambers of my pulsing heart.

But when the soul is gone, the hands are still there, and even the blood; but what stops really when we say life is gone? As the flesh cools, lying motionless, is the me-part that is really me immediately absent,

or hovering, waiting for further instructions?

It is said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but I am wondering when the absent happens. What changes in that one fragile second to another when what was thought alive is now

dead
and these carnal threads release their hold?

 

 

Not Home Yet

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Walking in shadows, occasional whispers of light remind me I am
indeed
in Him
inadequate, but on the path to home.
The yearning, the longing, keeps doubt in check—
somewhat,
somehow, hoping that
someday what we partly know will be known in whole—
unbroken,
unfettered,
understanding.
The here seems material, the then so far off; and this shadowed world,                               so full of souls and stains would break even the strongest, if not for the
glimmers,
the gracelets,
the glimpses of the intangible, leading us from discomfort to discovery
and home.

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Sunday Stranger

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

The man at the entrance handed me a bulletin from the top of a large stack.  He gave a vacant smile—a smile saved up all week long for Sunday strangers.  His eyes focused somewhere just above and to the right of my forehead.  It made me wonder if there was a fly caught in my hair.

The music grew louder as I crossed the foyer and entered through one of the sets of heavy double doors to the sanctuary.  Slipping into a back pew, I glanced around.  The church was old with dark mahogany and stained glass, the pulpit a million miles away.

The congregation was in the middle of a song, led by a golden-robed choir with bright faces and sure voices.  At the close of the song, a smile in a suit encouraged the people to spend a few moments greeting those around them.  The lady in front…

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That I Am . . .

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

Be still . . .

     be quiet, unplug,

     no talk radio,

     no I-pod or I-pad or I-anything,

     no racing thoughts and mental list making.

And know . . .

     in my head,

     in my heart,

     in my emotions and stubborn pride places,

     really, really, really.

That I . . .

     relational You,

     intervening You,

     inviting, not just theoretical You,

    the I Am kind of You.

Am God . . .

     King of the universe,

     Lord and Creator of all,

     Friend come close and generous gift-giver,

     Lover . . . in spite of me.

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Far and Near

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

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Why does the bloated Biafra baby bring a tear,

and the hungry eye-cries of Haitian earthquake victims urge us to tear

our wallets from tightly held fists,

when the man,

the man with the sign in the planter area by the on-ramp,

we assume has a lesser need–that is, if we see him.

The lady,

the lady trying to sell the grubby Beanie-baby at the entrance to the grocery store

does not deserve eye contact,

hand contact,

I-know-you-exist contact,

and we breeze by without even a “No, thank you”–that is, if we see her at all.

Are the far needs greater than the near?

Or just easier to get over?  Unchanged.

Are foreigners more worthy than neighbors?

Or is it just safer to care in one fell feel-good swoop

than love thy ever-present neighbor as ourselves?

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Dance in the Dark

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

I dance in the dark. 

Inhibitions cast off,

I twirl and twirl, like a graceful ballerina, free in a broad expansive world. 

Walls disappear and the dark of my room rushesto blend with the testimony of the universe—spirit meshed with Spirit.

My arms hug tight and reach wide—

stretch inward and outward to embrace and be embraced. 

Move, Spirit, move.

Simple melodies carry my open-chested praise past the corners of the ceiling

to celestial halls unfettered by   atmosphere     and         stars           and                 space.

 Miraculous union—the soul’s yearnings unbounded—

unloosed in a moment of genuine worship,

fitted one with the other,

created with Creator.

Slow slow, fast fast, step step – mind and body joined in declaration of Your worth.

 My will lays down my right to rule.

 I  b  r  e  a  t  h  e  out surrender as the music plays.

When I sit in church, hands in front, fingers tap…

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