“The call to be an artist is first of all a call to be a full human being.” We sat, six students, a poet and an actor, around the table, reminded that we can’t write, paint, or create music without learning to pay attention.
We can’t be lovers of God either. The call to be the bride of Christ is a call to become a full human being, awake and alive in His love.
I’ve too long lived as though God meant my body mainly as a means to serve Him. I’ve worried that a long, slow walk with my eyes wide open was a distraction from the work I thought I “should” be doing, the work that really pleased God.
Juliet Benner’s words bring me up sharp:
“God is present—in the world around us, in the people whom we encounter and in our work. Sadly, it is we who are absent.” (Contemplative Vision, p. 28)
That long, slow, attention-paying walk is no distraction; it’s love. It’s learning to notice where God is working, learning to live in His love and join Him in His loving of the world. It’s practice seeing God in the light on the water and the way the young dad shields his sleeping daughter’s eyes from the sun, practice becoming alive to God’s touch through the wind in my hair, practice delighting in His love poured out as I see and stop to gather and taste the blackberries hanging lush in a wooded corner a month after the sunnier patches of berries have ended. And it’s welcome: slowing to open my whole self in gratitude to Him who longs for me to notice the love in which He wraps me.