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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Wider Lens

by Doug Wysockey-Johnson

Here is what I notice about myself:  the busier I get, the narrower my focus.  The narrower my focus, the fewer people I think about, care about, or pray for.  It is a little like the definition of sin I learned back in 7th grade:  Sin is turning in on yourself. 

In our retreats on call, I often speak of the importance of saying no, clearing space, and pruning.  I do not believe that we are all called to care for everything and everyone.  I also believe that self care is critical to following a call.  But all to often I feel my focus narrowing to the point where functionally, it is all about me.

In this poem by Lumunos blogger Alice Ling, I hear an invitation to widen my lens in order to see the impact of my actions on others:

just back from a walk
my feet wet, hands cold
glasses in search of wipers
on the brink of a whimper
I remember the disturbingly dry land
craving this long, cool, refreshing drink
I revel in sparkling snowflake powder
ravishing beauty, snowshoe paradise
as my stomach churns
with thoughts of the hairpin turns
on snow packed dirt roads
I must navigate at day’s end
rarely can I have it both ways
cheap food likely means someone is underpaid
life supporting irrigation equipment drains
fish habitat and fisherman’s playground
upscale housing distributes eviction notices
to deer, moose,  families barely holding on
it’s not all about me
my comforts or convenience
I can never know the reach of ripples
set in motion by my life
but I can look through a wider lens
choose from a deeper heart

For many of us, Lent is a time to focus a bit more on our spiritual life.  Some give up something that is not healthy, spiritual or otherwise.  Others chose to take on a practice that might open their hearts more fully to God.  I’m going to try this one for a few days.  I’m going to see what happens when I widen my focus, and attempt to see the impact of my actions.  My hunch is there will be an “ouch” or two in there. But I hope also a deeper heart, more open to God’s presence in the world. 

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