Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What You Have That We Don't

It's not that I was ignoring him.
Photo: Anne Ostsee, Creative Commons, cc license
I looked up as he said my name, and I smiled and nodded.

"Mom? See the sunrise? Look." My six year old Daniel pointed out the dining room deck window.

"Yeah, I see it! So pretty, huh?" I grinned and looked back down at my notes. Violet and coral stained a navy blue morning sky, outlining naked spring trees against the horizon.

"No, Mom. LOOK! See?" and Daniel tapped my arm, pointing again out through the glass door to the sunrise he could see from the far end of the table.

From two chairs away, I glanced again outside, and nodded at him. "Yep, I see it. It's pretty."

Suddenly, I understood. He wanted me to come see the sunrise from his perspective. Moving three feet down the table, I stood beside him, and peered out at the morning sky. And the contrast was striking! 

Sharp tangerines and purples sliced open the sky in vivid, brilliant color. From this angle, the sunrise wasn't demure or quiet, but a raucous riot of hues. Oranges, purples, magentas, and pinks shot from behind our neighbor's garage roof, streaking up the sky.

Daniel was right. The view from his side of the dining room table was extraordinary, and I had almost missed it.
Photo Credit: Set Apart Conference twitter feed
This last weekend, eight hundred-or-so women came together for the thirty-third annual Set Apart Conference, hosted by the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. For two days, we spent time together in worship, time together learning from keynote speakers Kelly Minter and Alecia Williamson Garcia, and learning from workshops speakers, (where I was honored to speak too). What I encountered again and again reminds me of Daniel's sunrises...

We all have vantage points to see God at work in our lives, and the views can be spectacular. We are missing out on the fullest picture, though, until we take the time to step into another's angle of sight. Seeing their stories of God at work, hearing your tales of God artistically weaving life events, opens us up to vivid displays.

Your job? My job? To speak out our stories, describing the beauty of God at work from our vantage point, and then to walk around the tables to learn from each other, to see what majesty He has splashed across your angles of the sky too. He is an always-painting Artist-God after all.


6 comments:

Kara Shepherd said...

It is so wonderful to get another's perspective. I love sharing stories and hearing how God is working in and around others. So glad you took the time, both with your son and the retreat, to listen. It's a good reminder for me to do the same.

Bill (cycleguy) said...

i am convinced when we begin to see things through other eyes, it changes what we see through our own. Hope the conference experience was a good one for you. Our ladies are studying one of Kelly Minter's studies right now.

Micah Yongo said...

Beautifully put, and so true. I just think it's an amazing thing to consider the privileged position we've each been admitted into - to behold and express the glory of God from the unique perspective he's given us. But it's a challenge also, to always recognise that his majesty is so vast and manifold that no one can ever claim to know the whole. There's always more to learn, and it needs to be learned through and from one another. Which I think is both a wonderful and humbling truth. Because it means without community it's impossible to see God, and that even what see of Him is but a facet, and that through a glass darkly.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Kara,

How nice to talk with you again! How have you been? :)

Thank you. That chance to see his side of the sunrise and to enjoy the conference were neat times.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Bill,

So true, I agree. Seeing things through others' eyes changes us.

Ahh, Kelly Minter, fun! Which study are they doing?

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Micah,

Hmmm, "Expressing the the glory of God from the unique perspective he's given us" is a nice way to put that. And the view of him we get through community is powerful, I agree.

Thanks, Micah.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com