It wasn't something I intended to photograph. I didn't even know where I had left the camera.
But when I bent at the waist to weed a flower bed, I felt like an hour glass that had been turned over. Flowing water hose in one hand and tight fist-full of trespassing alicia bermuda in the other, I just stood there. Had I really never seen the world like this before?
Could I have done a headstand to take in the same view, I would have looked much less odd, but crazy woman I was with my feet planted shoulder width apart and head now intentionally hanging close to the ground as I looked upwards at the sky through the trunks of my legs.
Sure, I've seen the sky before. I regularly tilt head upwards and gaze at its broad expanse. Yet for flatlanders like me, when standing upright with face sun exposed, one's entire vision is filled with sky--not mountainous earth and sky--just wide open sky. With only openness, vibrating sun, a few birds, and treetops in the frame, the heavens lose their vastness because there is nothing in the mind's viewfinder to instantly compare its size with.
Even when I look across the field from my normal perspective standing on dry earth, the wide open sky overhead seems quite small when compared to the broad expanse of hay field, close enough to touch as it stretches around my feet and far out before me.
Proximity gives the appearance of great size...and of importance.
But here, with world turned upside down as I stood on my head, sky filled the bulk of my vision while still keeping in view the grassy earth, what looked like a thin green and brown pancake from which hung the rest of the world.
It was then that the vastness of the heavens really shook me.
What is daily close enough for me to touch, smell, hear--it seems so big, so overwhelming at times. But, it is nothing. We are just grains of sand in the largeness of God's broad expanse, our problems so, so, so meaningless and small in relation to Him...even if they are big to us in that moment of time carved out of eternity.
This change in perspective determines how I react to life itself.
Reacting to the big and small unexpected unwelcome matters that make up my days--this is where God has been working in my heart. It's so easy for something small to occur and bury me in overwhelming feelings of frustration, anger, or hopelessness.
I don't like having to dig myself out from that self-made grave. It is exhausting. It harms my relationships with my loved ones, not to mention my relationship with God. Lately, I've been intentionally short-circuiting the cycle, consciously stopping and asking "Why?" Why would God allow this? What does He know that I don't?
Somehow in the speaking, in the naming of the trial as one that is God-ordained, as one that is a blessing from God, the sparking emotions are diffused, and faith increases. It's one thing to say you believe God controls all, that He works all for your good. It's quite another to apply this theology to every trial that crosses your hearth.
Most recently, I tried this approach when, on the first day of summer classes, I realized one of my classes wouldn't launch. Uh oh--problems...what else was new. Later that day, I discovered whoever typed the class information into the registration computer typed in a "7" instead of a "6" for the class start date, July instead of June. The powers that be ruled the error would stand.
One single digit, one slip of a finger on a keyboard turned an 8-week class into a 4-week class. It's not what I signed up to teach. It's not what my boss expected me to teach. But it is what God wanted me to teach.
When I called husband, I told him this was no coincidence, that I was actually a bit afraid of what God knew was coming down the pipe, something that would consume enough time that I would appreciate less work now versus later.
I didn't have to wait long--a confirmed case of mono for my daughter and an identical checklist of symptoms for me, something we just started to overcome last Friday. Then came the unexpected out of town trip for husband...including an extra 24-hour delay due to airline troubles.
God knew. My acceptance of this fact in the beginning didn't change God in the slightest. But it did change me.
Now if I could only learn to adopt this attitude with each and every part of my life....perhaps I should learn to do that headstand to remind me.