View from my front porch on Sunday evening.
Every January, we use an online Saint Generator to randomly select individual patrons for each member of the Duggan clan. Last year, the Holy Spirit sent me a powerhouse, Teresa of Avila--a mystic and a Doctor of the Church.
Like me, St. Teresa was a word girl and she authored several books, including of The Way Of Perfection, Interior Castle, and The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. I own all of her works and have read each one over the years. As a Spiritual Master, her reflections pack a powerful punch to the reader's soul and she has been helpful to me in my own spiritual journey.
When the Holy Spirit assigned me St. Teresa for the year, it was like being buddied up with a best friend on the first day of school. I called on her frequently and she helped me out. When January rolled around again, and it was time to select someone new, I'm not going to lie, I was worried my new saint might not be as robust.
So I straight up asked the Holy Spirit for another powerhouse.
And I got St. Lucy.
I was a little disappointed.
I don't know much about St. Lucy other than she was a young teenage martyr (very cool) and that she is the patron saint of eyes. Throughout the year, I've thought about her, read about her (a little) and I've prayed to her when the need arises, like when Patrick had an important eye appointment this Summer or when an acquaintance's baby was born blind, but...
I haven't felt a personal connection to her.
A few weeks ago, I forced myself away from managing the usual racket of life with six kids and willed myself outside. I strapped Edward into the stroller and although I had fifteen million items left on my to-do list, I knew I needed to take fifteen minutes to get a grip on What's Really Important.
The four older kids were engaged in a game of chess at the picnic table and the five year old and the four year old were playing a wicked game of cat and mouse. While my children were otherwise occupied, I began to stroll around the perimeter of our property.
Within minutes, I experienced a deep peace and was even able to contemplate the goodness which surrounds me on the daily.
The afternoon was warm, but not hot, and the sun beat down on my skin and the lush green fields. I noticed how the weeds looked as if their heads were bent in prayer and I was grateful I remembered to grab my real camera (not my always handy IPhone camera) to take a few pictures of the scene.
I moved slowly, ignoring the multiple tasks calling my name, and made a conscious effort to take in the grandeaur. I thought about how I miss so much because I'm in a rush all the time, how I bypass beauty because I HAVE THINGS TO DO. I pondered this tragic waste when I was smote with a profound thought:
St. Lucy is the patron saint of eyes, Colleen. You should ask her to help you have eyes to see. You need eyes to really see.
I stopped dead in my tracks because I realized for the first time in my life that while I do indeed have a working pair of eyes, I'm actually blind to the true beauty around me.
I see the black smudges on the wall,
the gaping holes in my leather couch,
the laundry piled as high as Mount Vesuvius,
the constant bickering between the children,
the box of junk John promised me he'd put away,
my unkempt home and...
I can't see past the ugly.
My blindness keeps me from gazing past the mess and into the beautiful life bursting from the seams of this home.
My blindness allows me to see only batter splattered bowls and counter tops, instead of the child who baked chocolate cupcakes for the family.
My blindness allows me to see only bad handwriting, instead of a creative story written by an innovative child.
My blindness allows me to see only the laundered clothes strewn about a room, instead of the child who dressed herself unaided.
My blindness allows me to see only the markers and the paint and the rainbow loom rubber bands littering the table and floor, instead of happily engaged children involved in worthwhile creative endeavors.
My blindness renders me unable to see the good, the true, and the beautiful around me everywhere and always.
I was wrong to think St. Lucy wasn't a powerhouse of a Saint.
She was just the patron I needed because God knows the depth and breadth of my handicap.
I have no real vision and I'm in great need of healing.
And so I've been praying: St. Lucy, ask Jesus to give me eyes to truly see.
Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? Mark 8:17-18
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. Luke 24:31