Having vision in the midst of pandemic, feels impossible.
Thank God we are not responsible for changing the world.
Thank God we don’t have to gaze into a crystal ball to predict a new thing to get us out of the oldest issues.
Thank God all we need to do is love the world and be willing to change to love it more.
To you, I want to say, we can still have vision. We only need to look again and allow our sight to be full of imagination and grace.
This morning, tucked into the corner of an old drawer, I found a hand sized dusty prayer book inscribed in 1941 to my husband’s mother by her pastor. It said, “private use” on the cover. It was a much shorter version of the common prayer book and felt intimate as it could fit in the palm of your hand.
My first feeling was surprise that my now deceased mother-in-law had a small prayer book. I never heard her mention using a prayer book in the 30 years I knew her. But it must have meant something to her to keep it. She had endured some trauma as a child and maybe this book was like a strong security blanket that guided her through some pretty shadowy valleys.
Within a few minutes of finding the book and leafing through it, it moved from a sweet memory to something holy. Under the initial inscription I saw that in 1974, my husband’s mom signed it with love to him when he was a young teenager. She must have wanted him to be safe. I can see her passing it to him with little fanfare or notice. Maybe she knew he needed that security during a period when he was going through some of his own heartache.
I don't know that he even knows he has it. I have no idea how it ended up in this drawer of mine. But what I did know instinctively, like I know when the temperature is perfect for the larkspur to bloom, it was a moment to stop and let what I was seeing with my eyes sink deeper and understand, not only the tenderness of this book, but what I needed to learn from it.
I had never seen it until this pandemic and somehow because it had been hiding for decades, was small, and well used, it felt sacred. The prayers had had time to germinate and take root. This prayer book had seen war. I wondered if it was time for my husband to sign over the book to our youngest son who has been sent home from college and wondering what to do. But for now, I just needed to see it, hold it and take it in. In that tiny prayer book I could feel security and grounding, two things I didn’t even know I was needing to get on with my work and love the world.
Security, I needed to feel safe.
Grounding, I needed to know that I can stand on all that I have worked for and it will not collapse under me.
When I left the room holding the book in my close hand, there was a healing. I didn’t take a class, or search the world. I just saw what was before me on this ordinary day in these extraordinary times. Then I stayed with the sight long enough for it to be a vision and teach me what I need to learn.
Visions can be old and as simple as considering birds and grass again. Most vision comes from within, the gift is looking at something before us and finally seeing it. Seeing how extraordinary it is, seeing how sacred it feels, and seeing how it fills us with vision.
There is a cost to vision, a freedom in vision, and culpability in vision.
It means we can’t unsee and it means we lose the veil of ignorance. But what a sad thing it would be to not allow ourselves the gift of seeing with vision. We would miss the low flying hawks that whisper inspiration into our hearts. We would miss the spiraling of the incense that encourages us to pray. We would miss the dragons in the clouds that dance us into bravery. I feel like I can feel the transformation of sight into vision because of the presence of salty prisms of gratitude mixed in for good measure.
We are all graced with vision. Our job is to practice seeing in the ordinary the sacred all around us.
Peace and love.
— Becca Stevens