Lately I’ve had to borrow my husband’s readers so that I can see when I’m reading in bed. Frankly, it makes me wonder if it’s time to look into long-term care facilities. Yes, I recognize I have the occasional tendency to slight bouts of over-exaggeration, but I’ve decided that at my age there’s no reason to try to recover.
I embrace my inner exaggeratchi, which is what we call it in our house. In Turkish, you add gee or chee to the end of whatever job and that says what your job is, ie., bakergee is a baker. Or paintgee is a painter.
The great thing is, if you don’t know the word for something, you can just gee it up a little and, though often wrong, the Turk you’re speaking with will at least know the ballpark of what you’re trying to say.
Now that we have your Turkish lesson for the day out of the way, I want to talk about perspective. Specifically, when we should look up and when we should look down — which is tangentially-related to whether or not I need readers to see the fine print, don’t you think?
For instance, last week my aunt and I were discussing the mutual though totally different challenging set of circumstances we’re living through, and she sent me something she called a soul map. It inspired me to draw a picture of how I was feeling that day, and since I challenge you to find anyone who draws as fantastic a stick figure as myself, I will copy it in below.
I feel like I should link to the name of my junior high art teacher so you can write in your complaints, but I can’t remember who it was.
But regardless of lack of quality, I think my picture easily transmits how I was feeling, no? There I am, the grimace line of my mouth double-inked so you don’t get the misunderstanding that I’m smiling. Holding on by my last muscle fiber as I try to stay upright.
At the time I saw this image in my mind, I was sitting in the sunshine beside a tiny waterfall in the Japanese park near our home. I’d just allowed myself a few moments to sit in and acknowledge some grief, and a few tears were discretely shed. This is Istanbul after all, where you are never alone. Never ever. Even in your own home, because of thin walls and cramped streets and nosy neighbors sticking their heads out the window to watch and observe and talk amongst themselves about the weird foreigners. *Although to be fair, they gossip just as much about each other.*
I was, in fact, just wiping away a few of those discrete tears when a grandmother surprised me by stepping down heavily not one foot away from me as she heaved her two grandsons over the stream. Why she chose to cross exactly beside me instead of the 10 clear feet in either direction remains a mystery.
Anyway. I saw that picture, and I was thinking maybe it was about time to let my arms drop and just let the weight crush me. And then in my mind’s eye, the picture zoomed out. I submit the second masterpiece I drew to represent what I saw.
Do you see God’s pinky finger, casually curled to hold up the colossal weight about to obliterate me? Or, as it turns out, not about to obliterate me, merely hung at the exact point needed to refine the crap out of me.
If I wanted to, I could even follow through on my idea to drop my hands. If so, I’m confident the pressure wouldn’t move one iota. And please note, God has a big smile on His face like I often do when I’m delighting in something my daughter, Joy, is doing. It reminds me of when she was holding the remote control, thinking she was playing the video game her cousin was actually playing from behind her.
Zooming out on my misery helped me see the One who holds everything in His hands. Every. Thing. Little and Big.
And with one adjustment of my vision, Every. Thing. Little and Big. was better. He flicked the pressure off my lungs like a bug so that I could breathe easily once again.
On the other hand, I’m reminded of a little Bible story with which you might be familiar, when our courageous and sometimes foolhardy brother Peter leapt out of the boat to walk on the water over to Jesus. He was fine when his eyes were zoomed in and focused on Jesus, but when he zoomed out and saw the storm raging around him and water about to swamp him, he started immediately sinking.
What’s the common denominator? Keeping our vision focused on Him.
If I’m in one of those how-long-oh-Lord kind of seasons — is there any other kind — I need to zoom in on His face and where He’s standing right now instead of looking at the long, long, looooong and discouraging path ahead of me.
If I’m having a do-you-care-my-adversaries-are-about-to-crush-me kind of day, I need to zoom out and look at the great and awesome goodness of God, and maybe pull out my altars book to remind myself of the many battles He’s already won. Maybe even ask for a Moses moment: “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.” I don’t think I’d have any trouble focusing my vision appropriately if that happened!
One thing I do know, whether today is a day I need to zoom out, or one I need to zoom in, He’s ready and able to fill my vision with wonder.