Experience is nothing other than what we decide to attend to, so the quality of experience depends on the quality of attention. … We all yearn for renewal but imagine that it may be found only in novelty – a new place, a new lover, a new job. More effective, and much cheaper, is to see the familiar with new eyes. And a few writers offer just such transfiguring eyes. They smash the crust of habit and permit us to see life anew. In the contemporary world, such crust-smashing is both more difficult and more necessary. Once there was no crust at all and most people were exposed to hunger, cold, disease and violence. Experience was unavoidably immediate and real. But now most are increasingly protected from old dangers, and the new danger is that the crust becomes thicker and stronger, the life it shelters is more likely to wither and die in its shell.
Michael Foley, The Age of Absurdity, p.136,139
Coming home to myself becomes a delight and a joy as, bit by bit, I come to accept this life. I accept my smell. I accept fewer fantasies. I accept ageing and finitude – that I have a sell-by date. I accept this body, in all its particularity, as the only person I can be, as Your body in this place and time.
Jesus, I am grateful for the way You look at me with unwavering clarity. You compel me to life, to presence, to depth, and to myself. You are uncompromising and I need that. In Your presence, I want nothing else.
When I don’t turn on the TV, when I don’t stay up late, when I have some quiet and reflection, then there is a greater consistency in this life. I feel You more present because I am more present. Life becomes dedicated to You and takes place in You.
I wish to live turned to You. I wish You to teach me to love better, to be more open to people and to life, less fearful, softer, more receptive, living out of my true self. (It is a big ask! As a friend says, “It is not looking good!”)
… and so be made ready to see Your face … (CDP, p.208)
To be ready to see Your face is to be prepared to be utterly transparent, to have no dark corners of my soul that I won’t allow You to see. And so, Jesus, I sit here and I allow You to see a little bit more of me, as best I may.