Monday, November 29, 2010

Paying attention #2

A few weeks back I wrote about paying attention. I described a new phase I am in, a new way of seeing that I am trying to instill in myself. This quote from Frederick Buechner sums up beautifully what I have experiencing and living these last few months...
pay attention to the world and all that dwells therein and thereby learn at last to pay attention to yourself and all that dwells within.... Literature, painting, music - the most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as a vastly richer, deeper, more mysterious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot. In a world that for the most part steers clear of the whole idea of holiness, art is one of the few places left where we can speak to each other of holy things..... If we are to love God, we must first stop, look, and listen for him in what is happening around us and inside of us. If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in. From 'Art' in Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Buechner (pg 15-17)
Each day I seek to pay attention to the world around me in creative ways; to see things in new frames. I see beauty and mystery and chaos and pain. I see brokenness and transformation. And yet when the injustices, the politics, the immensity of non-grace might overwhelm me, when I begin to find within myself the same chaos and brokenness, I look to find the glimpses of mystery and grace. I look to find the holy in the commonplace.
I revel in the rich complexity of words in an Emily Dickinson poem. I marvel in the power of a single photograph to capture an entire story. I take the time to sit with a friend and speak of truthfulness and love and hope. I find therapy in the preparation of a wholesome meal.

This new way of seeing has been particularly helpful as I have begun work in communications with a church-based NGO who is seeking to alleviate injustice, transform communities and engage the Church in this mandate.
I am trying everyday to see people with my imagination, to see their stories as well as their faces. I am conscious that how I communicate - whether it be through words or photos or design - should speak of truth and grace. I want to allow people to see the world in new frames, to 'see' people from places unknown with imagination.

I long to be creative and to witness creativity as a way of entering in to the mystery of being, the holiness of our world and the God who created all these things.

1 comment:

laura. said...

I love that quote so much, I'm thinking of putting it onto my blog. So what I needed to hear, very encouraging. Loving the blog lovely one! :)