Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 323 M.C. Escher and the Bigger Picture

Dear friends,

David and I have moved from studying line in art to shape. In particular, we are looking at the difference between 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes. (For some crazy talent on the 3-D front, check out some of M.C. Escher's pen and inks. Mind boggling!) Now believe it or not, I relate this concept to suffering, and its power to enable us to see things in an additional "dimension" so to speak. Somehow, pain and grief in their various forms, physical, psychological, relational, financial, spiritual, etc.., give the bearer an opportunity to see a layer of life that may have been flat before. If I might use the car crash as an example:

I see physical pain now with an additional dimension. It's not that I never had compassion on people with messed up bodies before, but at this point even someone struggling with foot pain or headaches has my attention. I ponder their daily life - and often marvel at the way those with chronic pain carry on in the everyday. I know a number of fellow pilgrims suffering the aches and hurts that come with the tricky diagnosis of Lyme disease. I know some who work in heavy lifting jobs with arthritis and back pain. That's not even mentioning my friend in a wheelchair for life, or the one with continual digestive problems, or that dear one with a life threatening disease. This added perspective comes from watching daily as my non-complaining Hercules winces every time he stands from a sitting position, and groans quietly every time he moves his legs to turn over in bed. My daughter has frequent trouble with pain in her teeth, a manageable but annoying price to pay for someone else's bad decision. Because I live in the story of these 2 priceless lives, I've gone from a square to a cube in seeing the troubles of others. That's an example of "all things working together for good" that the Apostle Paul refers to. I hope this good fallout from the events of November 8 never goes away. This quote from a Japanese poet about sums it up:

My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon. ~Masahide

I thank the Great One for the healthy, pain free "house" I live in. I know there are no guarantees on this front. Physical pain is no respecter of persons. But should I ever have to walk down that stretch of the pilgrim road (and the likelihood is that someday I will), my hope is that I will get an enlarged view of the grace and mercy of the One and Only. At least I have a couple of beautiful examples at home, and my life is the better for them.

Go ahead and sign up for the dessert nite! There's still time, in fact the caterer has given me until October 14. But please don't wait til the last minute... it will make my life a little less hectic!

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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