Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eyes to See

Call me chicken. Would you want to follow Bonnie's beautiful, beautiful video blog of Monday morning? What can I possibly add to that? But bless her, she gave me an out, by quoting a post I recently wrote for our sister blog, SheReads. So I'm going to re-print that post here.

But first, let me call to your attention an unheard-of opportunity to get two of Patti's novels for almost nothing: Amazon is running a "Sunshine Deals" sale on over 600 books, and at least two of them are delightful, beautifully rich up-market fiction. From now through June 15, you can buy Kindle editions of "Seeing Things" and "The Queen of Sleepy Eye" for only $.99! I wouldn't be your friend if I didn't tell you.

And now to the post:

Do you ever play this game? Fill in the blank: “Please Lord, don’t let me die, and don’t let the rapture come until I have…”


Gotten married? Had children? Written a book? Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro?

The first three were on my list, once upon a time. The fourth never was - but I love that word, Kilimanjaro, and it seems worth saying.

The one thing that’s been on my list longest and will be there for a long time to come is this: “Please Lord, I don’t want to go until I learn to see.”

After all, I’m a writer, and the quality of my writing will never rise above the quality of my vision.

Even more, I am a Christian, and the quality of my faith, I truly believe, will never rise above the quality of my vision. Jesus himself spoke again and again of those who had eyes to see, and those who didn’t. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in Genesis 16, where Hagar, that poor sad story of a woman finally meets “El Roi,” or “The God who sees me.” What a stunning gift she was given. Had anybody ever seen her before?

Consider Jesus’ utter frustration at the Pharisees who saw their rules and not the blind man in need of healing. (Don’t miss the irony here.)

Consider it all: the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the angels we entertain unaware, Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus (“Didn’t our hearts burn within us?”).

Consider String Theory (look it up: the universe might be made of music), the Fibonacci Sequence (look it up: the universe is definiately made of poetry), the faces of beautiful un-beautiful people, the world outside your window.

It’s this drive to see, I think, that has filled my bookshelves to overflowing. I like to read stories, and the kind I like best are those that help me see through eyes different from my own. It’s so easy for Christians to get myopic. We like to hang out together. We find our friends in church and pray for jobs in Christian-filled offices. We like books about people like… well, like us.

But I want to know the outcast Boo Radley, so I read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. I want to understand black maids in the 60′s-era South, so I read “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I want to know what the Angel of Death finds beautiful in humans, so I read “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak.

And then when I feel very brave, I want to find one friend who doesn’t believe what I believe, doesn’t think like I think, doesn’t know my lingo. I want to know her story, and understand.

I want to see her, like El Roi.

Please God, I want to see.


Footprints From the Bible by Cynthia Davis said...

Beautiful! "I want to see..." so much! I think like you, that's why I write and why I read. I just never thought of it that way. Thanks.

Latayne C Scott said...

Yes, yes, yes, dearest Katy.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

Thank you for re-posting! I am presently part of the ebb and flow of someone else's hospital journey and the faces I encounter fill me with stories. Nurses, patients and visitors, so varied. And just walking through a building where death and birth are skimming the veil...Seeing is a sacred burden here.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful!

In a few weeks I'll be teaching a twice a month creative writing class. I'm so excited about this. Mostly because my students will be living in a safe house. What I'm most looking forward to is hearing their voices, the way they see life. These women were once broken, but are being made whole in Jesus.

"I want to see..."

Kathleen Popa said...

Cynthia, do you have piles of books too? Bless you.

Latayne, mwah!

Henrietta and Susie, may God bless you in these sacred places with true vision.

Bonnie posted a video on Facebook yesterday that I think fits here:

In it, Garrison Keillor advises:

"So much writing is about the alienation of a superior intelligence - that is the writer's. That's the writing to avoid. You always want to be in touch with how things look, and what people say, and what they call their dogs."

Such an easy hole for a writer - especially a Christian writer out to save the world - to fall into.

Marti Pieper said...

Such a great truth.

Such a profound prayer.

I think the ability to see in the way you describe defines our writing and our relationships. And I think you think that, too.

Anonymous said...

Such a good post, Katy. You and Bonnie have given me so much to work with this week.

Anonymous said...

Such a good post, Katy. You and Bonnie have given me so much to work with this week.

Jan Cline said...

The cry of my heart has been to hear. I want to hear. I want to hear the words God is trying to put in my mind and I want to hear and know His voice telling me what to do next! The two words He gave me at the beginning of the year for me were Hear and Prepare. It's amazing what happens when you start paying attention and take ownership if what He tells you to do. Does that make sense? Anyway, I too want to see so many things. Thank God for spiritual sight.

Katie Ganshert said...

This post brought tears to my eyes, because you just awakened a yearning inside me that I haven't paid much attention to lately. Thank you so much for this reminder Kathleen!

Kathleen Popa said...

Sorry I didn't answer all your wonderful comments yesterday - it was a non-stop day for me and I got little time at the computer.

Marti, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I think that. And imagine how it relates to the two great commandments.

Sharon, thank you. Your post today is beautiful.

Jan, yes, Jesus spoke of eyes to see and ears to hear. Many blessings to you, too.

Katie, ah. Write from the yearning. I'm honored by your comment. Thank you.