Tag Archives: perspective

today: a Wednesday not so long ago

Some days are about stopping, forced pauses and seeing. Life abounds. God, here.

On A Wednesday not so long ago, I felt walls closing in on questions I could not answer. I lacked sleep and perspective. Blinded to goodness, I staggered through the day, wallowing and grumpy. The sun shone, though, beckoning me outdoors. I leashed the dog and packed my camera. I walked. And I saw. It was a return to gratitude and perspective. Life abounds, God, here.

today: he is sam.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
-Dr. Seuss

A couple of days ago (I lose track of time when I visit Massachusetts), Sam insisted I paint his face while we were at a kiddie farm. He wanted a red car, then a blue car and then yellow and orange, and soon his whole face was smeared with my handiwork. He beamed with pride. Later on, we sat on the couch, and I read to Sam. By that, I mean we started with four stories in a volume of Harold and the Purple Crayon followed by multiple Curious George escapades. We read until I needed water. I was losing my voice.

To be with Sam on this trip has given me this sweetest soundtrack:

“Miss Erin, do you want to play with me?”

“I want Miss Erin to sit by me,” (except when his dad made a better sandwich than me. He wanted to sit by his dad then so he could share…)

“I want Miss Erin to hold my hand.”

“Miss Erin…”

“Miss Erin…”

“Miss Erin…”

The boy knows how to get his point across, and the point he has made with me, emphatically, is that he wants me in his life. Kids don’t generally beat around the bush about this sort of thing, and I am grateful Sam is so great at being a kid. It’s hard to get tired of playing and laughing and reading and chasing with a little guy who wears affection and enthusiasm all day every day. Sam is also great at being himself, and as himself, he reminds me of God’s kindness so often shown by the people who do life with me. That affection and enthusiasm make me hunger to live with that childlike perspective, something I am quick to forget when things are busy or stressful or hard.

I wrote about Lucy, Sam’s twin, the other day, and the combo of these two kids and their incredible parents is one of the sweetest parts of my life. It’s been an unexpected additive of incredibly meaningful friendship. Visit Massachusetts again in the fall? How could I not?

today: we knock down towers

“I sat by the fire until the sun came up; and asked God to help me understand the story of the forest and what it meant to be a tree in that story.”
-Donald Miller

this world, beauty and scars
we live it only
it is not ours alone
but it is wholly ours

Today Caiden and I walked, and we were both quiet. He kicked his chunky monkey legs as I pumped mine, pushing his stroller in front of me. We are worlds away, this little man who I supernanny-it-up for a couple of days a week, and I. We are worlds away, but the days we spend together are grounding, somehow. He needs such simple things: food and naps and walks and tummy time. Mostly, though, he needs love to secure him. When his mom leaves, he cries for her. I can keep him occupied with little plastic balls and blocks, and we roll them and stack them and knock towers down. Eventually, he relaxes in our time, and we laugh. We dance. We rock before his nap. He sleeps. I work. And he is perspective for me most days, a little one who only knows how to be. A little man who knows but one thing: to live in the present tense. That’s the best version of the human story, I think, to live in the present tense, to just be there, needing love to be secure and not afraid to cry when you think you’ve been forgotten by the one who loves you most. She’s still loving him when he can’t see her.

We are fragments of that human story, Caiden and I.

How quick I am to forget the present tense part. How quick I am to forget I am loved when I can’t see Him. How precious is the grace that is Caiden reminding me.

today: and so perspective goes

Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

images take at The Modern in Fort Worth

Sometimes I cannot see an inch in front of my face for want of so many things, and perhaps it is the human plight to be fixated on that which we do not have rather than thankful for that which we do. I am classically conflicted and unoriginal with my reasoning in that. Parts of the world (ourselves included) are very, very broken. And yet there are moments when everything comes into focus and all is seen to be well and good. If we are works in progress, may the progress be classified as redemption. For this I hunger. For this I live.

And we are all in this together.

Sometimes I take a step back and know that this universe is more than meets the eye. Peace and hope and love and justice resonate throughout humanity at our best, and the beauty we see on a good day reminds us that we were made to run hard after life, full life. Something more is possible. My faith wavers between utter trust and rabid doubt, and I don’t think God is surprised or upset. He loves me and you and all of us. For this I hunger. For this I live.

And we are all in this together. May we run hard after after life, full life.

today: forego the parable (running home)

…And in the ear of every anarchist that sleeps but doesn’t dream
we must sing, we must sing, we must sing…

-Conor Oberst/ Bright Eyes, At the Bottom of Everything

(this one courtesy of the best camera and Adam)

My vacation was supposed to be about snowboarding (and reconnecting with friends). Instead it was about connecting with friends (and a little bit of snowboarding and snowshoeing and city exploring). And I wouldn’t have it any other way. First of all, I reconnected with these cats:

I hadn’t seen them in a few years, and after seeing Stace in the spring at a photography event, a visit seemed in order. Learning to snowboard has been on my list of goals for the past few years, and they live in the mountains, so the trip was multi-faceted. I could say a lot of things about Stace and her hubby Chad, but the bottom line is this: they know how to be with people, how to invest in people, how to see people and how to love well. They are relational rock stars. I brought my buddy Adam along for the trip, and last night he said he hoped they never change in the way they do life.

I quite agree.

They love each other. They live creatively. They know God. And they hold taut the tension created by hope in a world that is, well, messy. I need people like Chad and Stace in my life, because they remind me that it is possible to live a crazy good outside-the-box story-that-is-a-journey. They remind me of this without sidestepping the harder parts of reality. This does not make circumstances inconsequential. They live faith that allows joy regardless of circumstance. So we laugh. A lot. And we talk and dream. This is how it has always been. Chad and Stace have believed in me and talked me off ledges and watched me come and go. When I am in their home, I do not doubt I am loved.

I hope they know how much I love them too.

Here is something else about Chad and Stace: I am (get to be!) Auntie Erin to their two little rock stars.

They are night and day, a sensitive older brother and his exuberant sidekick. One is drawing me pictures to hang on my wall while the other is scheming a plan to sell his art projects on etsy. I have known these boys since they were born and loved them from the moment their tiny frames rested in my arms. Seeing them at seven and five blew me out of the water, because here are two little boys full of beauty and wonder and life. They so reflect their mom and dad. And they are stinky, silly world-changers-in-process.

Taking a new friend along to visit old ones always feels a little risky to me, because I live aware that I am off the charts blessed with incredible people in my life, and if you are going to meet them, you better get it. I think Adam got it, and we (who have a laundry list of things to create and do) created some incredible memories alongside of and within my heart getting refueled by the mountains and city and the Choms and God…

If this is the way 2010 has begun, I can only anticipate. Home, for me, has always been about people rather than place. And my family makes Texas home for sure, but Home also boom-a-rangs among those who color my life and remind me that there is a way to live that is something like this:

May this be the way it is always, a life aware of the kindness of God that is the people He’s put in my life. When I lose perspective, they spin me back to believing all that is good and right in the world time and again. I find my feet firmly planted and at home. Here (and there).

I hope this is true for you, too.

(P.S. Thank you Chad and Stace and Jadyn and Caleb and Adam for giving me the past couple of weeks. They were exactly what I needed.)

today: perspective edits life or life edits perspective…

“Though I’ll never forget your face,
sometimes I can’t remember my name.”
-Adam Duritz (Counting Crows, Mrs. Potter)

The intention was to blog this last night… and my internet went down…

hazy-cactus1

It’s a chicken/egg question, whether perspective is the result of the way life happens or vice versa. Maybe the way life happens shapes perspective. It’s probably a bit of both, depends on the day. A part of growing up, maturing, becoming who a person is supposed to be requires mandatory pauses so that identity secures to the right things. In our fragility, or maybe in my fragility, the tendency to latch on to the wrong things to secure who a person is- who I am- occurs with great frequency.

tall

Life mandates pauses, steps backwards, rest. These moments or days or weeks or years, depending on where you’re at, allow and force us to sit with ourselves, to look at who we are, to see our great need. So that we can change and become more and more the people we’re supposed to be.

I spent the weekend with a group of photographers from the Beyond Just Images forum I participate in. What I thought would be a weekend of learning and laughter, which it was, also caused me to stand still and look around. And I heard God whispering in my ear about how big he is and how he wants to be here when things are good. And when they aren’t.

It was like a haze lifted.

horizon2

True security lies in living out of relationship with God, being restored and restoring others. I believe that. Richard and Amy of Red Leaf Studios talked a lot about their business and how they do things and what they see. Their work is intentional. Their work is inspiring. Their work is beautiful. Their approach, though, allowed me to peer into a window of the kingdom of God.

They know who they are. They know what they are made to do. They live there. I hunger for what they have.

Life presses us on so many sides. Things don’t go the way they are supposed to so many days. I want to be someone, though: friend/family, pastor/photographer, child of God/disciple… storyteller, who lives out of who I am, committed to be shaped by the right things… because the run is long and some days hard. Unease and tension and brokenness are here to stay.

run1

May we press in and on, determined to endure for the joy set before us. Because it is out there to be claimed and in us to be given away.