Monday, August 13, 2012

Paying Attention: A Prayer with Photos

Grant that I may I have eyes to see you, Lord.
To see you in the light,
to see you in the dark.
To see you in the rainbow,
to see you in the clouds.
To see you in the new,
to see you in the worn and weary.
To see you in the blessed and blissful details,
to see you in the rougher edges.
To see you in the easy, graceful gifts,
to see you in the slogging, stultifying backwater.
To see you in the immensity of the universe,
to see you in the intensity of a single cell.
Grant that I may have a heart to hear you, Lord.
To hear you in the laughter of children,
to hear you in the slowing of age.
To hear you in the soft sighs of the sea,
to hear you in the harsh cries of the hawk.
To hear you when the joy breaks loose,

to hear you when the sobs don't stop.
To hear you in a beating heart,
to hear you when the beating stops.
To hear you in the wonder of a well-fed child,
to hear you in the one who starves.
To hear you in the still, small voice,
to hear you in the silence 
of questions without answer.

Even there, O Lord.
Even there.
May I have eyes to see,
ears to hear,
and a tongue to tell
the glory of our God.


The photo of the 'shoes' near the end of this prayer is from eastern Europe - 
a WWII memorial sculpture commemorating Hungarian Jews 
who were lined up on the edge of the river, 
told to take off their shoes, and then shot to death.
This reflection was prompted by a post about photography and truth at Kelly Sauer's blog today. She was pondering old versus new in her photographic style. That got me to thinking and praying about the contrasts in this life; that the light and the dark are often closely connected and reflective of one another; that God doesn't abandon us when life looks dismal or terrifying. I need eyes and ears that look and SEE and hear and LISTEN for evidence of the Presence of God - wherever and whatever and whenever.
Sometime during the dark morning hours, I realized that this post was also triggered by the powerful WWII story shared by Ann Voskamp in yesterday's blog post. 
Even in the most horrific of human-devised schemes,
God does not abandon us, God is not absent.
So thank you, Kelly. And thank you, Ann.
I'll put this one with Michelle tonight, Jen tomorrow, and Ann on Wednesday and Duane and Jennifer, too.

Here is a legend for the photographs.
1. Reflections of stained glass on the stone walls of a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, 2009.
2. Sunlight breaking through the clouds as we flew from Florida home to LAX, May 2012
3. Cloud-covered moonlight over Puget Sound while staying on Whidbey Island, August 2007
4. Layers of color at sunset at the same place and time as photo #3
5. Our youngest granddaughter Lilly on the day she was born - 2/25/10
6. An oversized drawing entered in an art contest spotlighting the homeless population of Haarlem, The Netherlands, 2009
7. Our dining room pine buffet, loaded with my much-loved Fiestaware, taken on the day of my mom's 90th birthday party, June 2011
8. Silhouetted ruins above the Rhine River, 2009
9. A tableau of bicycle against the stone wall of a local Catholic retreat center, Spring 2011
10. Garbage gathered at the edge of a marina in Miami FL, May 2012
11. Yosemite National Park, summer 2010
12. A birch leaf in our front yard, fall 2010
13. Sunlight through amber windows at the New Camoldolese (Benedictine) Hermitage Retreat Center, near Big Sur CA, December 2011
14. Our granddaughter Gracie, aged 2, laughing at the antics of her cousin Griffin, aged 2, on Whidbey Island, August 2007 (They're six years old now, soon to turn 7)
15. My favorite centering prayer spot - the beat-up swing that hangs from an oak tree in our front yard, taken in the spring of 2010
16. Hendry's Beach, Santa Barbara CA (officially known as Arroyo Burro State Beach), sunset, winter 2011
17. A bird of prey overhead - maybe a hawk, maybe an osprey, in British Columbia, summer 2007
18. Municipal flower garden, Nuremburg, Germany, 2009
19. The cross on our back fence that marks the place where my youngest brother's ashes are buried. Taken in the spring of 2011.
20. Lilly, playing in her tent, Christmas 2011
21. Santa Barbara cemetery on a foggy morning, winter 2011
22. Lilly's adorable bunny slippers, Christmas 2011
23. A skeletized leaf, picked up by my grandson while we were hiking in the Redwoods near Santa Cruz CA, summer 2011
24. Window angel spotted in a side street of Regensburg, Germany, 2009
25. War Memorial in honor of slain Jewish citizens, Budapest Hungary, 2009
26. Approaching Laity Lodge through the Frio River, the hill country of Texas, September 2011