I miss the old glass. This was the summer we installed replacement windows in our hundred-year-old house. They look quite handsome from the street, and the beautiful wood sills and trim remain intact on the inside. I am already grateful that we will not be heating the surrounding sidewalk and alley this winter. I will not miss the loud-enough-to-wake-the-dead rattle when the wind is fierce, or the need to prop sashes open with books. But as I sit in prayer in the early morning and gaze out onto the street, most of the view comprised by the late summer fullness of the red maple, everything looks different.
Gone is the barely perceptible bend and twist caused by the varying thickness of the antique glass, what might be termed distortion, but what I prefer to think of as flow. And beauty. Like looking through still water. Like seeing the current of time. Like gazing through the same window that another woman gazed through generations ago, and while the street and tree are different the glass is not. But now it is. And I feel the loss.
Many lenses are available to us through which to look out onto God’s creation, and into our own souls. Love. Gentleness. Longing. Doubt. Mistrust. Hurt. Patience. Humility. Gratitude. Some change with time. Others with circumstance. Still others, with purpose. Perception is not only about clarity of vision, but also intention of the heart. What narrative we prefer to tell. Upon what we choose to set our gaze. To which lenses we cling. How open we are to God’s grace working within us, upon us, around us.
Myriad viewpoints. Abundant grace. May God be in my eyes, and in my looking.
God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.
Sarum Primer 1514
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