Monthly Archives: February 2017

59. Potential

59-potential

So, we have spent the past fortnight looking at how to see with potential in mind. It has shown us that whilst some things have an obvious potential, like a bud or a seed, other things are less obvious in showing us what they might turn out to be. Some things can go either way, having, like us and our actions, the potential for good or harm. Some things that seem as though they might be wonderful, end up a mess, and others that seem like nothing much can come of them become truly awe-inspiring. When looking at something, we need to hold that spectrum of potential in balance. Holding space around a paradox is difficult, but more and more I think it is part of spiritual maturity.

What’s more, spotting that potential is also part of a new kind of seeing, if we are looking for it. I picked up the book pictured in the local library on a rare trip out of the house, simply because the cover was so unbelievably drab, that I thought, the insides must be either amazing, or dull too! And my hopes were rewarded, as I have now discovered a wondrous writer I had never heard of before. I did judge a book by its cover, but not the way that the world usually does, and it paid off.

Throughout Lent we shall be continuing to look at new sight, but for the whole time on one theme, that of empathy, especially, how we can look at things through the eyes of another, rather than solely through our own.

N.B. I shall no longer be posting on a Sunday (I have posted, but not written on a Sunday this year, but even bloggers need a breathing space) and it will keep Lent to the traditional forty days.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

 

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58. Specs (potential)

58-specs

I need new glasses. I have got to that point where middle age has suddenly made all the print on packets and labels shrink so small that I can’t make it out at all. I have a magnifying glass slipped into my Bible, and it’s getting harder and harder to paint detail or read. Thank goodness in Word I can make the font as big as a house and nobody needs to know.

But as well as the physical energy required to have an eye test even at home (and that’s before I think about the cost), there is a little bit of fear mixed in to what new glasses and new sight might bring. What if it makes everything loom large and I can see all my mistakes in glorious detail? What if I don’t like this new, bright world that might appear? What if I prefer the way things look through a squint? I know these fears are daft, especially as I’m so fortunate as to live in a country where there is eye care so readily available, but any kind of new seeing has the potential to be both a good thing, and to bring new difficulties. Once you start to see clearly, it changes how you think. Jesus knew this, and spoke about the renewal of our spiritual sight often. Well, maybe it is time to embrace his words, and get the lamp of my soul seen to. Maybe a whole new vista will open up to me.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

57. Rain (potential)

57-rain-potential

If you are a pluviophile like me, you don’t just not mind the rain, you love it. It seems bizarre that the weather forecasters talk about it so negatively, and that other people find it a miserable thing. I love the sound that it makes and the torrid abandonment of its falling. When I was well I used to dance and sing in it (and not just because I was a little bit in love with Gene Kelly). I would relish walking and running in the rain.

These days, I’m very rarely outside, but I do love to watch the rain, and to hear it thudding down. It keeps the power tools in their sheds and other noises at bay. But rain does have the potential to spoil days as well as make them, however much we love or need it. No-one likes rain on their wedding day, or when they have planned a picnic. Like holding a fuzzy filter over this photo, rain does create a sheen over the day’s events, and curtail what we might do with our time, even though it also sometimes brings us the joy of a promise bow in the sky.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

56. White House (potential)

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This white house, a blank canvas edged with trees, visible from my back garden, always seems bright with possibilities to me. I don’t know who lives there, and it’s certainly not a president, but the wall has never succumbed to graffiti (quite an achievement round here) and it has never looked grubby, or at least, not in the bright sunshine. I have a photographer friend, Dianne, who takes pictures of a white house in farmland, it is like a muse to her, and she takes so many varied shots of it, surrounded by autumn foliage, lost in snow, baking in the golden glow of hayfields on a summer’s day, and they are all beautiful.

Light and framing are crucial in photography, and in all our acts of seeing too. White is so good at reflecting different moods and colours directed at it, and maybe for that reason it bends to the will of the artist or the photographer that little bit more easily than darker colours which absorb the light. Perhaps the same might be said of us, that whatever colour we might be (of skin or politics) the better we reflect God, the more potential we have to shine for him, rather than lapsing into self-absorbment.

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

55. Prayer (potential)

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Prayer took me in an unexpected direction today, as it quite often does. There’s not really much point having expectations beyond meeting with God, really, as every time is different.

Some people begin their prayer lives (myself included) by treating time with God like prayer is a wish list, or worse, as though he were a one-armed bandit, with us pulling the lever and hoping some kind of reward will be forthcoming, if we stand there long enough.

But as we come to know God, we learn that presenting our requests is fine and often necessary, soul searching comes frequently, as it did today, but that nestling into his heart is better. Prayer can become almost anything: tears; ministrations; lament; praise; thankfulness; instruction; petition; intercession; contemplation; listening; singing….. it is one of the most potent “potentials” there is.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

54. Ceiling (potential)

54-ceiling-potential

Today I am still struggling, and perhaps daftly, decided to rework the cover of my upcoming book, Garden of God’s Heart (I wasn’t happy with the proof copy) from within a haze of painkillers. So, I am now awaiting the second proof. I stare up at my ceiling, from my castle made of duvet, and wonder whether I am about to break through a ceiling, or is one about to fall upon me? Ventures in life can go either way. Almost everything we do has the potential for disaster or success. We are supposed to treat them both the same, as the imposters they are, of course. I’m still working on that. But as with all my creations, it’s given to God. So, whether the next copy looks just right, or if I have to tweak it some more, whether it sells to a few people or lots, I know I put my heart and soul into it for the Lord, and he is in charge of the rest.

I remember too, whilst ceiling gazing, how I used to be so desperate to kill the time, and distract myself from the pain, that I would begin counting the peaks in the Artex. Are they stalactites? Or the surface of a strange planet? When my house was a complete tip, due to zero energy, I would think, well, at least my ceilings are tidy. That’s one surface in each room. If there’s one thing this illness has taught me, it’s the power of looking at things in a different way…..

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

 

53. Waves and Breakers (potential)

53-waves-and-breakers

Today is a very rough day with my chronic illness. I barely know how to keep going, to be honest with you. It was preceded by a night of tears, and I did not feel much like praying this morning. But I’ve lived long enough to know that it is precisely at times like this that prayer is even more important than usual. Even if it is asking other people to do it for me.

It’s days like this where even an innocent blanket can look like a raging sea, where the exhaustion wraps itself around me like miles of kelp and pulls me under. These kind of depths are full of potential. They can become sea monsters, full of fear and doubt, worse, self-pity, or a powerless, tiring rant; or they can be given over to God and become a lament, a sobbing prayer, a silent, dull, duvet-coddled sort of day. A day when I ask friends to pray for me and tell God I don’t understand but I love him and know he is good, a strange, grey, unusual blogging sort of a day, where my words might reach someone else drifting in the same sort of painful, difficult, world-weary boat, and we might both receive some kind of solace from knowing we are not the only ones on this quietly terrifying ocean.

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

52. Pens (potential)

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Ever since I was little, nothing has made my heart zing quite as much as brand new art supplies. I look at all those colours waiting to be unleashed on paper and feel so much joy. Even these black fineliner pens, with all that gorgeous ink waiting to become shapes and lines, faces and whiskers, sends my imagination soaring. They look like beauty sleeping in her glass coffin, just waiting for a creative person to come along and kiss her awake, releasing her from coma to the sweeping action of drawing.   How many pictures are there, dreaming in a pen?

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

51. Magnus (potential)

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Magnus Magnoliason is about to peg it, by the looks of him. This is very sad for us as we’ve been looking after him for over a year now and we had high hopes of his growing into a proper plant, hatched as he was from seed kept refrigerated carefully and planted out as per the RHS’s instructions. But we forgot to put him outside in September, and since then he has just wilted and gone brown. My husband is now convinced he’s not a magnolia at all, but Japanese Knotweed, or something equally sly. He may well be right.

I am not good at giving up on things (or people) generally, and so I have determined to plant Magnus out in a nice pot as soon as Spring comes. It will either kill him off completely, or be his saving grace. He has the potential for life and death in him. Those few cells of green could take him over, or fade away. I am foolish to hope, I know, but we all need as many chances as possible to come to life, don’t we?

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

50. Buds (potential)

50-buds-potential

The magnolia tree in our garden started growing this Spring’s buds in November. It does that, holds everything inside. The ones that dared to start opening during the winter have gone brown on the inside, killed by frost and impatience. But most of them have held on, waiting for the right time to bloom, and knowing still, that it is not yet here. But bloom they will, for two short weeks, in the earliest warmth, and those flowers will be stunningly beautiful. I wonder if they know that.

Perhaps, for them, held closed, zipped up for so long, sensing those brave enough to open have died, they feel the time will never come for their freedom. Perhaps their hope is waning now. But from outside, where the seeing is easier, we can look at them and tell they are going to be flowers, that all that constricted energy will burst out soon in a heartachingly exquisite display of pale pink.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017