Windows to the World

Palm Cottage 045

I have forgotten the name of this (Jake from Jakesprinter provided the name – a pedestal stereoscope) but I haven’t forgotten the wonder that I felt when I first peered through these windows. This particular one was at the Palm Cottage Museum in Naples Florida but they are like the ones my grandma had. This is how I got my first glimpse of far-away places. Not just pictures of far-away places but pictures that looked real – where there was depth. It felt like I was really there.

I was so very intrigued. On a very hazy level I learned that there were places other than my neighborhood. I wasn’t old enough to understand it but I know it opened a window of wonder about other worlds. The people in my family didn’t travel much – unless you count my grandparents emigrating from Poland when they were in their late teens. I didn’t understand emigration, they were just different in a familiar sort of way.

It has become fun reflecting on my life – maybe because I am gaining a lot of life to reflect on. I am intrigued with how different threads of interest and talent became woven together to form my tapestry, my life history. Seeing the bigger world through these 3-D windows didn’t lead to a life commitment to “travel to exotic places.” No, it wasn’t that conscious, but I think a combination of my personality and quirky fate repeatedly came together to guide my path through life. It was impossible to see when it was happening but now I’m beginning to see it more clearly.

What is interesting is that as I understand my life more clearly, I also have more questions. Did God have a plan for my life even before I was born? What role did self-determination play if there was a plan? If God already had my life planned does it mean that I am delusional to believe that I made choices along the way? Is there a God who is involved with each individual to this extent – to the extent that a 3-D viewfinder was placed where I needed it to open the window of interest? I can’t get my mind around that one. Do I think too much? 🙂

If you want to see other windows or to post your own interpretation of this theme, go to:

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/sunday-post-window/

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21 Comments »

  1. Wonderful piece of history ! Love your interpretation .
    Don’t think too much on some questions Pat .. it can all get way too mind boggling Lol

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  2. Excellent questions in that last paragraph; questions with no easy (nor definitive) answers. These are questions I still wrestle with, too. More and more I arrive at thanking God for the great gifts of freedom and will and the invitation to co-create a future with God’s grace/help. I am reminded of a saying of St. Augustine: “He who created you without you will not justify you without you.” This has sometimes/often been paraphrased: “Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not.” My understanding (still evolving) is to delight in the knowledge (and experience) that God and I are “in this together” and the final outcome is “under construction.” I try to (in prayer book words) “delight in God’s will and walk in God’s ways” and depend on/count on/hope for God’s grace and mercy to give me what I need rather than what I deserve (especially after my sometimes willful mistakes and outright disobedience). Life is a great adventure. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this blog.

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    • Your welcome. What wonderfully expressed ideas you put forth. I was a very strong believer in self determination, a “I’ll make all my own choices, thank you” type of strong-headedness. I believed that it was up to us to say yes to God’s call – or not. Then on day in my deep discouragement I turned my back on God and started to walk away. I actually said to him that he was useless. The next thing I experienced was his enveloping me in his mighty love and saying that I was his beloved daughter and I belonged to him. This was a total surprise. On that day, some seven years ago, I realized that I don’t have total free will to say no to God. A very powerful experience for me especially seeing I am very left brain logical. I really appreciate being able to have this conversation with you and hope that others, of all persuasions, will join in.

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      • “beloved daughter” —it is a profound realization (not easily achieved, not easily accepted, too easily forgotten in the rush of the day, in my experience). I rejoice in your experience, I rejoice in your willingness to share your experience. Your comment puts me in mind of a prayer I found some time ago, and you have helped me remember this prayer (and remember ‘who I am’). Thank you.

        A Prayer of Accepted Tenderness

        Today, O Lord, I accept your acceptance of me.
        I confess that you are always with me and always for me.
        I receive into my spirit your grace, your mercy, your care.
        I rest in your love, O Lord. I rest in your love.
        Amen.

        The term “accepted tenderness” is Brennan Manning’s. The concept is fleshed out in his book The Wisdom of Accepted Tenderness: Going Deeper into the Abba Experience (Denville, NJ: Dimension Books, 1978)

        From Richard J. Foster, Prayers from the Heart (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994), p. 54

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  3. Pat, very thought-provoking post. I think the farther we get into our lives, the more patterns we see. Whether these patterns are created by our own decision-making process or God is a matter of your belief. I find it impossible NOT to believe God has a plan for each of us…somehow it doesn’t seem to mean anything without that, I believe. I think he allows us to make a “wrong” decision so we can learn; he puts similar decisions in our paths as many times as it takes for us to get it “right.”

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    • Sue, I think you have summed up what I have believed along the way. I know it is has been important for me to feel confident that I was doing what God wants me to do. This element of my faith was what made it difficult to retire. When I heard God say “just enjoy your life” it didn’t seem to be enough – so we argued a bit. 🙂 Not unusual for me. Guess who won. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I enjoyed it a lot.

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  4. Brilliant entry Pat. It is amazing how seemingly inconsequential things affect our perception of the world and life itself. I have pondered the very same questions you pose, and often. But with no immediate answers, I tend to follow Sylvia’s advice….Que Sera Sera 🙂

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    • They are basically 3-D glasses. We had different cards and the part that held the card slid so you could focus the pictures to get maximum 3-D.

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