Do you ever take things for granted? I know that I do. During Lent last year, I led and hosted a small group in a weekly gathering to learn about and practice a variety of ways to pray. One week we practiced visio divina (holy seeing), which is a derivative of lectio divina (holy reading – a slow and reflective way to read scripture). I gathered a number of items from my house including some pieces of art, as well as a few rocks I’ve collected, and a piece of driftwood I’ve had for over 40 years. I gave some basic instructions, and then invited each person to do the following:
- Take a few minutes to settle yourself into an attitude of prayer, opening yourself to whatever God might have for you.
- Select one of the items placed around the room that catches your attention.
- Take some time to simply sit in front of the item, opening yourself to God, and taking it in with as many of your senses as you can.
- Notice whatever old memories, new thoughts, images, feelings, longing, or prayers might emerge.
- Spend a few minutes in simple open presence to God, to resting in God’s presence.
- As you feel ready, take a few minutes to reflect on this experience, perhaps ending with a few words of prayer.
When I called everyone back together for a time of reflection, I was surprised that a few of the participants selected items that I’d never even considered including. They were things I took for granted, hanging on a wall, or sitting on a bookshelf. I had simply never “seen” them, they were just sort of “there”, items Rod or I had been given or had found, but never really observed. Jesus had something to say about people having eyes but not seeing, and ears but not hearing.
I tend to fly through my days, always on my way to the next thing on my list. Perhaps you are that way as well. In this crazy time of COVID19, without all the other distractions, I am forced to slow down, to see and hear more.
Take some time to practice holy seeing this day. You never know what beauty you might find.
One of the things I’d taken for granted: