Friday, September 16, 2016

eye contact

My chow - labrador mix, that I was told "does't have much lab in her",  is unruly.  And so we paid a nice man $175 to help train her.  After the 2 hours we were told that he can come to our home three times a week for coaching, or, for $2200, he could take our unruly dog home with him for two weeks, for in residence training.  For that kind of time and money, I would prefer to give him my teenagers.

"It is important that when your dog obeys, you make that eye contact. See how she looks up at you? You want that."

People, let alone my dog, do not make much eye contact.
We are looking at our phones, as if to say, "I have someone better to look at than you."
We have conversations that are shouted from room to room, we yell up and down staircases, we text and we text some more.
We really don't look at one another anymore.
Rarely do we make that effort to walk, step or physically move.

If the eye is the mirror to the soul, what does this say about our relationships? With our spouses? Our children? Does being in the same room, or under the same roof, mean that we are connected?  If we do not take the time to be face to face, with full concentration on the one in front of us, how can we truly know how they are? Who they are? Who we we are? How do we determine the condition of a soul we are too busy to see?

Kids do not like to sit and look at their parents.
We are stupid.
We are boring.
We are annoying.
We are losers.
Sometimes they hate us.
And we have nothing wise to say. Ever.
Their eyes are everywhere, but looking into ours.
Lord only knows what they see.
They are always moving away, pulling, and reaching for anything but what we want to offer them.
And maybe there is something to hide-- after all, we look away when we are not truthful. Sin thrives in the dark.
Or maybe I need to let go of my overly, anxious imagination, and trust more.
But whatever the case, I still want to really see them.
Because I know that if we stare at each other long enough, the eyes will overflow.
They will let me know what hurts.
They will see mommy again...they will remember to whom they belong.
And like the good shepherd, I long to bring my scattered home, to hold my lamb in my arms, to wipe away every single tear.

I have not been to Adoration in a while.
And I think I need it.
That face to face time.
That chance to look into each others eyes.
Our eyes say it all. They tell the whole story. We have the tears, wrinkles, and blurry vision to prove it.
No words are even needed.
Just a gaze.
And  yet, if I am being truthful...I am afraid to look.
What if I do not like what I see?
What if I can not handle what it is I am freely choosing to not notice?
What if what God has in store for me is so much pain, so much suffering, that once I look, there is no going back?

And so I have been praying a prayer, Complete Trust in God, by Francis de Sales, whose last lines are, "Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all useless thoughts, all vain dreads, and all anxious imaginations."

My dog is still unruly.
But when we walk now, I take that moment to tell her to heel, to sit, and then I look for her eyes.
And in that brief moment, she stops pulling and reaching, she settles into the quiet, she knows I am there.