Give me eyes to see beauty...
snow blankets bowing branches of evergreen... billowing clouds in skies of gray... barren bush, a red beacon of winter's sleep... black squirrel dashing along a wooden fence, and a regal blue jay standing sentry on a silver birch.
God's creation, rich in colour, texture, shape is the purest form of beauty. Undiluted... a gift, created by God for His pilgrims to enjoy.
Not so, in us, His created ones. Although created in His image, we sons of Adam, daughter's of Eve are scarred with sin - snow and crimson - impure, yet saved by grace.
I desire to learn to see like our Father. His eyes see us, without blemish or stain. I want more than sight, I want eyes of Love.
Oh Lord, I want to see others through your eyes.
Mother's voice cuts harsh as I cringe at her response,
"But why weren't we sent an invitation? That isn't proper. Why haven't they done this thing right? It would of been so much easier if we had a map."
As she speaks, I search my heart, looking for those soft words that turn away wrath. Mom, I offer, "I have a phone number for the restaurant, would you like the number and you can get directions."
This time her words are more accusing, indignant...
"I think it is an affront that I have to call the city and pay the long distance charges and pay gas to get there, and my own meal. Aunt Mary isn't even sick. She likes the attention. Why, it isn't even her birthday - that was in April!" Mom winds down with righteous triumph.
I try again, softly.
"I know Mom, there are expenses. I will phone for you or get the directions off my computer (to say I'd google it on Map Quest would be a foreign language, a bridge too far to cross to a generation lost to our age of software)".
"I just don't want to go - but I'll ask your father."
Silence... as she "goes through the motions." All my life it has been, "I'll ask your father" when really, he has no say.
She looks to him for confirmation to her rightness - Dad usually gives it, seldom will he differ and enter the war of words - the battleground of her experience.
When she returns, I have let go of my desire for them to be at this extended-family meal. I have offered and tried. Although grieved at their loss and ours, I recognize their age, the distance and the bitterness that has grown over the years. I contemplate the five hours of driving, Dad has a cold - he's 80 now -perhaps it is best. I wait as mom comes back to the phone.
"We won't be going. Your Dad doesn't want to."
She isn't finished, "Why can't they send invitations with a map? Why is this done so carelessly?", she accuses, sharply.
Gently I say, "I don't know why, Mom. They are busy and they're nieces like I am. Auntie Mary doesn't have any kids to do this for her. She's dying of lung cancer, she lives on her own, and has just moved to the nursing home. She is perhaps lonely and displaced right now."
Gently, softly I continue, "Mom, I'm glad Terry and Val are arranging this for her. I didn't do anything to show I care, but I would like to go - for them and Auntie Mary. I think everyone is just doing the best they can, Mom."
I'm not finished yet, I love her and I want peace. So often, I too have slung mud to make this relationship strained.
"Mom, you and Dad are doing your best too. It is a long drive. Dad does have a cold. I think you've made the best decision for you. I'll give everyone your best wishes."
She softens. I am surprised. "I would like to go. It's just so far and since my masectomy in July...", she trails off and sighs..., "I don't have the energy anymore. And the snow and we're so far."
"I know, Mom. I hope Dad gets rid of his cold soon."
As I hung up the phone, I wonder why there has to be blame - someone' right, someone's wrong. Why does she have to justify not going and become angry. Perhaps that is the only way she can give herself permission - not to go. It must be hard as you age and can no longer do all that you once did. Is Mom grieving and lashing out? Her way of coping perhaps. It has always been this way. Pride, anger, barbed speech - a habit formed in youth, in years of living a hard life.
I remember words I read on Ann Voskamp's blog, Holy Experience. I understand. I don't remember word for word, Ann's revelation of her relationship with her dad. I borrow some of her words and make them mine. She captured the essence of the generations so beautifully.
I love Mom. I have her voice, I share her bloodlines. When I became more of a daughter to my Heavenly Father, than her - she was enraged. She resented losing me. The strife between us heightened. I had knowledge of His love but no experience. I too lashed out, slung mud.
Do Mom and I ever heal? We get close, and word barbs catch, rip, cut. We've shared years together. We share the same battle - her and I - pilgrims on this earth.
She is beginning to know the king. I have been on the journey a long time. And yet, I battle pride, selfishness...I like to be right. My battle is the Lord's. My battle cry is to die to self, let go of what is mine. I want to become, "Holy as He is holy."
Although Mom's and my life are still connected - the same blood runs through our veins, this generational sin is one we share- the battle is the Lord's. Our battlefields are in different homes, one generation apart, and each of us will answer to our king.
My battlefield is in this home, with this husband, and these children God has given me. In this ordinary life, I need to see the holy. I need more of Him and less of me. In the day to day, I put on His armour, pick up His shield, wield His sword. The battle is not mine.
Hear our battle cry. Hear the bugles sound. Hear shouts of victory. The battle will be won.
When we are weak, He is strong for His power is made perfect in our weakness...where sin abounds, grace abounds even more...our faith in His word, the truth, the confession of our mouths...the battle is leaning in our favour. We are on the side of the king.
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.
Put on the full armour of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Ephesians 6: 10-12 NASV
Hear our battle cry, Oh Lord.
Today, in the everyday, I die to self. I won't sling mud. Oh tongue of mine, we'll be wise today - one moment at a time in this ordinary life. Life-giving words, one moment at time - to bequeath a legacy, different from the one I received. To die to self, to Him the victory given. His wisdom, His strength, His grace, His mercy, His power....all mine, in Him.
To see as He sees, to see with eyes of love.
Hear our battle cry.
By Joyful Fox