It doesn't happen often, but sometimes an entire week will pass before I realize I've gone through it with my eyes tightly closed.
To everyone else, and physically speaking, I appear to be seeing, but I'm actually not. I don't see hurt. I don't see need. I don't see beauty. I might as well be blind.
The week before Valentine's Day was kind of like that. It wasn't that anything was bad really, it was just kind of "blah, blah, blah". Just going from point A to point B to point C and then coming back home again. The next day, I just hit repeat.
I don't think I'm an anomaly. Well wait, let me think about that a minute. (tick-tock). Okay. I think that mostly I'm not an anomaly. I think it happens to most everyone from time to time. I don't like it one bit, though.
This is the story of how God opened my eyes yet again.
It was a rainy Monday morning--the week of Valentine's Day. I slept too late so even though it was "hair-wash day", I didn't have time. I left the house in what Beth Moore calls "yesterday's hair", and I didn't feel good about it. I was driving through my neighborhood heading for the highway, lost in my own thoughts, when it happened again--always a surprise. The little kissing couple in the truck appeared right in front of me again. For those of you who might have read earlier blogs, you'll remember my writing about this couple who, seemingly by chance, ends up driving in front of me in my neighborhood. I don't know them. All I know is that at one particular stop sign--the one before you pull out on the highway--they always kiss. Over the last 15 years I have observed this about seven times. She is always sitting right next to him in their truck.
|the kiss at the stop sign.|
This time, there was a cute little twist. They were both wearing cowboy hats. Yep. Two little seventy-something lovebirds in cowboy hats. All of the sudden, my heart quickened and my day instantly took a turn for the better as we drove toward the stop sign. I knew what was coming! I slowly followed them and at the last minute, as they took off their cowboy hats to kiss, I grabbed my phone and caught it on my camera. The kiss at the stop sign on the rainy week of Valentine's Day. Could it get any better than this? Beautiful enduring love. The couple is unaware that I have been following their love story for the last decade and a half simply by quite accidentally following their vehicle. If they could only know the joy their love brings to me. God began to pry my eyes open just a smidge.
The week continued on, and then on Thursday it was Valentine's Day. My true love worked in the city all day, and I had a day of teaching piano lessons. When I got home, later than usual, my husband had beautiful music playing. He was in the kitchen fixing dinner and he had taken the time to set the table pretty. Candles. Flowers. Tablecloth. I will hover for a moment on the tablecloth thing. As I began to take everything in and to relax a bit, I noticed something about the tablecloth. It was a Christmas tablecloth! It was a collision of celebrations right there on my dining room table. Perhaps a better wife would have let it go without comment, but being that I'm more of an average wife, I ran right through the door that the hubs had opened.
Me: "Oh honey, you even used a tablecoth".
Hub: "Hey that's how I roll".
Me: "How did you pick this exact one?"
Hub: "It had red in it".
Me: "Yep. It sure does. A little red cabin in the snow with Christmas trees all around it".
Then we couldn't stop laughing. Gotta love a guy who laughs hardest when he's laughing at himself! Romance aside, who doesn't love a little Valentine's Day humor?
|Christmas and Valentine's Day mash-up.|
And so my sight continues to improve.
The end of Valentine's week, I was fortunate to get to photograph a mother and son. They've struggled. They've lived more years apart than together. but they love each other I know. I can see it in the photographs. As the mom was getting ready, the little seven-year-old boy and I ventured out to get some shots of him by himself. Behind their house was a creek bed with beautiful trees. Little flecks of green were beginning to peek through all the brown-- hinting that spring was just around the corner.
The little boy had not explored the creek before, which surprised me as it seemed to be a place where the most incredible, imaginative adventures would surely happen for a boy his age. As we began walking down the hill to get there, the little guy had a bit of a worried frown on his face, with a demeanor entirely too cautious for his age. He spoke of it being dangerous, with all the cactus and stickers. Where did so much fear come from in such a little guy? I wondered.
I began to talk to him about adventure and pretending we were on a safari. He reached up and took hold of my hand. By the time we reached the creek bed, we were Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus. We fished with sticks, I bolstered him up in a tree. We played hide and seek. And we took pictures. I say "we" because he was smitten with the camera. He wanted to take my picture. He began giving me directions when he was shooting. "Move over by that tree," he would say. When I started posing and acting silly, he ask me not to do that!! When his mom arrived, he wanted to take her picture, too. He wanted to take my picture with her. It went on for a couple of hours. It was just about the loveliest way to spend time.
|photo courtesy of Marco Polo.|
I think it was the moment that sweet little boy reached for my hand that my eyes became once again fully open. Right there in that very moment.
In the span of one week--a week that is typically full of commercialized expressions of love, God reminded me in three of the sweetest ways that love is all around us all the time. We just have to open our eyes.
Occasionally I will wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air like I haven't been breathing for a while. When I take that first full deep breath of air into my lungs it is such a relief. Almost like being brought back from near-death.
That is what happened to me during Valentine's week. I began to see again. Which is kind of like breathing again. Breathing is necessary for my body to live. But seeing. That is what sustains my soul.