Sunday, July 19, 2009

Failing to Make Eye Contact

My friend Adam at "Where the Wind" made mention of how at his family dinner table, his dad often picked whoever unsuccessfully failed to make eye contact with him to lead that night's prayer. I think many of us can relate to this idea. Sheepish, probably fidgety, we all try to make ourselves invisible when we're faced with something that pushes us out of our element.

I have to say, I found myself thinking about this idea today. What things have I sensed God calling me to do, and what things have I turned away from, hoping that I might be able to avoid His gaze about? This is a hard topic. Somewhere in my head, I know I want to teach more. I want to lead more retreats. I know I feel at home when talking about the Bible and the themes in that big book.

I love to relate the stories of the Bible to everyday moments. I love losing myself in preparing talks for other people.

So why, oh why, have I been turning away from a recent request to help with another retreat? In August, I can help again with a Young Adult retreat. I can use some of the things I learned last month at Yale. The theme is "Strength for the Journey," and I know that I would love to share on this topic.

So, today I think I met that Gaze straight on. I heard the request, loud and clear, and know what I need to do. I've made that uncomfortable eye contact, but understood what it means. I'll put my hat in the ring and step up to do what I love, what scares me, makes me feel small and strange, what makes me feel alive, and what fills me with purpose. Darn it if it didn't seem so hard some times ...


wherethewind said...

Most of my parishioners don't look at me when I am administering communion, but a few do. This one venerable lady always looks me in the eye, and she has a penetrating gaze.

I'm reminded of the description of how you know that someone's been to Narnia: "It's something about the eyes."

Liz said...

I have a tendency to always "look down" too! I hope you go forward with this retreat in August. It sounds like God is pulling you towards it!

kater said...
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kateyleigh said...

I love you, Paula, you're amazing!