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Zoom lens

March 10, 2012

Well, no sooner do I say I have no time to post than life gives me a story I am just itching to share. The laundry isn’t going anywhere…

My intentions were really good this morning; my room is a disaster area and I have been working my way through the piles from the door inward. I stepped into my “office” – the small room off the bedroom where all the stuff I haven’t decided what to do with accumulates on, under, and around a desk – and noticed some flowers that looked unfamiliar, peeking out of a box. Since the various props I’ve used at church include some fake flowers, it took me a moment to realize that these were not artificial. I had found the amaryllis bulbs I bought in November to give as Christmas gifts, but couldn’t find when wrapping time rolled around.

I stood looking at them and felt a wash of guilt join my state of shame over the mess in which I so often find myself. This poor bulb had done the only thing it knew how to do in spite of its misfortunes, sending beauty towards the light from a crumpled paper bag. I, who had intended to see them set in soil and tended by the hands of people I love, so that their beauty would shine a light of love back on them, instead left them without soil, or water, or help of any kind. Their blooms unfolded to an empty room, unwitnessed and unappreciated.

I went to get my camera, because as is my wont, I could see humor in it already. I saw something else, too, as I knelt to capture this defiant act of living.

I have a picture book called “Zoom” that zooms out from a detail on a postage stamp, further and further until you leave the earth and can no longer even see a dot on the black page. I thought, if I just look at the flower very closely, there is no shame there, only beauty. And yes, I feel the shame and guilt when you zoom out a little further and see its dire living situation. But if I could keep backing the camera up, seeing my own life from further away, I begin to see that mess in the context of my life, and the shame lessens. I have done good things too, and have made choices about how to spend my time that have been good for me and for others in many ways. If I zoom a bit further out? More shame. Shame on us Americans for our greedy consumer lifestyles. Zoom out further, and tenderness returns as I see us as just another sort of animal, living out our drives for life, love, and safety. Zoom out further still, and goodness, it is so amazing that we are here at all! This huge, complicated world is unfolding on the head of the tiniest of pins in the vast universe.

So, if you are having a hard time today, maybe try zooming in closer, or out further, to a point where you can see yourself with kindness and compassion. If someone else is bothering you, again… fiddle with your focus. How we interpret what we are seeing depends ever so much on how we crop the picture.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2012 11:27 pm

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. Lump in throat. Relief. Uh oh. Lump back. More relief. Lump. Perspective. Then whew. Cosmic viewpoint! Gratitude. Peace.

  2. Anne Turner permalink
    March 31, 2012 9:47 am

    How amazingly profound! Lyn, you have surely found your calling. I’ll be zooming around for awhile, for sure. Thank you for always seeing the beauty in all of our messes. May it be so.

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