Eyes to See - Part 1
The sun was peaking through the palms and shining on the bunch of bananas like a spotlight. I had separated myself from the group of chatting moms. The palms begging to be observed and etched. I sat cross-legged with a pencil and scratch paper on a clipboard. The kids were climbing rocks and trees; sometimes stepping through the palms like a curtain on stage with big grins leading the way. An urge had overtaken me. An urge to make the banana palm fixed... permanently placed.
I don't usually draw. When I first started, a little voice echoed accusingly: You are not an artist. What I am finding is that it isn't so much about being an artist. It's about truly seeing. As I imperfectly put pencil to paper, I approach humbly. I admit that as perfectly as I construct the lines, the palms are already good...whole. This may be what has hindered me from pursuing art in general. Good art honors its subject. I am afraid that I won't do it justice. What can I add to it? It's great on its own. That is the point, I think.
It isn't about me making something better. It isn't about me at all. It really truly is all about what I am looking at. With each curve, with each group of lines, I am giving my eyes time to adjust and take in every part. I realized something. Those beautiful portraits Leonardo Da Vinci painted were so fantastic because he was able to see the person. His brush responding in admiration.
The seeing deepens. About 5 years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Actually, as I think about it now, I didn't truly want to learn guitar. I wanted the benefits of singing with an accompaniment. I love to sing. The guitar was not the object of my affection. I wanted to use it to be able to sing more. Manipulation. Well, the consequences have quite literally played themselves out. After 5 years of "playing" guitar, I know and am playing the same 15-20 chords as when I started. There is no intimacy. When I pick up the guitar I feel awkward... Imposter, says the guitar. You don't know me. You don't love me.
I have had to go back to the beginning again. This time, as I approach the instrument I acknowledge that I don't know it. I approach in wonder and respect. In my first lesson, yesterday, the guitar teacher had me simply strum one string at a time with only two fingers. As he positioned my arm, my shoulder, my fingers to where they should be, I realized that his 25 years of playing did not take away his respect for the beautiful sound that should come out. With each simple note, he looked at me and his eyes sparkled as it sounded just right. He didn't just admire the guitar when his skilled hands played elaborately. His affection extended to hearing it played in the simplest way. Delighting in it being played well; down to the simplest sound.
All along while I tried to skip ahead in the process, I missed it. I missed the best part: the seeing. Do I come to God this way? Admiring who He is without imagining what I could add? God is complete. He is whole. There is nothing to add. Perfect.
I can get so caught up in setting a goal and achieving it through discipline. We have the ability to see something we want to do, set our minds to do it, and be able to look back and be proud of the process. God gave us this ability. He delights in us. He is our Father. Sometimes I can take on the process and become so proud of what I have done, that eventually, it becomes just about me, and not at all about the Giver. He doesn't need our worship or our praise, but He deserves it. The glory belongs to Him.
The phrase that continually keeps coming to my lips in prayer is Give me eyes to see. For so many years I have not seen clearly. A glance in the direction of the powerful.
What am I afraid of seeing? What keeps me from lingering longer?
Could it be that if I linger I will want to stay? Am I afraid I won't have space in my heart to admire so much? Can my heart hold that much affection?
I hear a soft yet firm voice. When you have me, you have my heart.
As I sit plucking each individual string, I wonder. The disciples were right there with Jesus and they didn't seem to see Him. They sat at his feet. They listened to him speak. They witnessed healing and transformation. Jesus asked them to stay with Him and pray. To sit with Him. They fell asleep. The disciples missed it but eventually saw.
Oh Lord, are my eyes closed? Open my eyes to see. I want to see You. Let me see the people around me fully. Let me see your world completely. Fill me with affection and admiration. You are whole and complete. Fill me with your fullness.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17b-19