Tag Archives: Seeing

For the last couple of years I have found beauty in the grime of the inner city – the constant buzz, the collision of life when you have so many people sharing the same space, the juxtapositions of decay and renewal on every corner.

Life in the suburbs is different – it sings a different song.

On Sunday evening I saw a shooting star (or an alien aircraft on fire). It shot across the night sky, with its tail of gold, red and bronze trailing behind it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so sparkly or that sang of joyful freedom so gladly.

Last night the moon was so bright that I seeing by moonlight actually seemed plausible – rendering many an adventure story possible.

I get up so early that I can see the watch the sky transform from a formless darkness to a canvas of orange, purple, blue and pink clouds as the sun heralds in a new day.

There is beauty in the suburbs.

There is also more sky.

Remember the days when the smallest thing was the most fascinating thing ever?

Remember the days when what is now commonplace was o so amazing?

Remember the days when what is now a nuisance was actually something you excited talked about for weeks?

This week I had a twenty minute conversation with an 8 year old about the wonders of flying economy class...

"You have a TV in the seat in front of you! And you can watch anything you like, even Horrid Henry. And there's a thing for your drink by your arm. And  tray that goes in front of you like this. And they bring you really good food - two lots of food. Lunch and dinner. And they bring you pillows. And they bring you drinks. And there's even something to put your feet on."

All this from a child I who usually only answers my questions with "Yes" or "No." It's in the detail.

Remember when the world was fascinating?

This week I'm looking into the detail of everyday life to rediscover childlike wonder.


Anyone else out there grow up with at least one parent convinced that if you didn’t have net curtains covering your windows every single neighbour and passerby would spend all their free time watching your family eat dinner or watch TV? Anyone else ever go past a house where you can see the occupants living a net curtain free existence and wonder how they sleep at night knowing that everyone who went past during that last hour saw them on the sofa in their PJs crying over X-Factor (not that I would ever do that)? Anyone else feel naked without their privacy being protected and prying eyes kept at bay with a few inches of net?

Anyone but me guilty of all three?

Time for a confession: almost every room in my house has net curtains. I find it hard to envisage life without them.

The windows in my bedroom overlook the garden, adjoining gardens and then the gardens that back onto my garden, the houses that belong to those gardens and then I can see a bit of the other side of the valley (can you even have valleys in a city?). As such, it sometimes feels that when I look out of my windows half the world and his mum can see into my room. Excellent for watching fireworks on bonfire night but not so excellent when you've a green face-mask on and you’re dancing around your room singing along to Glee (not that I would do this either). So I usually have net curtains strung across my windows to protect me from (the nonexistent) prying eyes. Not once when I’ve looked out my window have I ever seen someone else look out theirs too. And in the previous days of school revision and in the current days of unemployment staring out the window happens a lot.

A few days ago I decided to clean my bedroom windows. And for some unknown reason (temporary madness or something) I decided to push back the net curtains.

O.My.Goodness.

I could see EVERYTHING (or as much as you can see in gardens and backs of houses). But seriously, it felt like I was living outside. So now, whenever I’m bored of searching for jobs or whatever, I can vacantly stare out of my window without having to hold the net curtain up and feel like a really obvious spy/stalker.

But the best thing?

Sunset.

Every evening (excluding rain clouds and winter and all that) I’m treated to an amazing display of colour and cloud and shadow and sunlight as the sun disappears behind the other side of the valley.

Today I saw cloud, blue sky, purples, greys, white and orange. And at the centre, a blinding brilliant bright light that I knew I shouldn’t look at but couldn’t help doing anyway.

And today I wondered how many of these had I missed when the net curtain was there. How many times had I missed the opportunity to witness the sun disappearing from sight in such an amazing display of pure awesome? And I don’t even like nature.

And of course, in typical Christian fashion, my mind soon turned to God. How many times had the ‘net curtain’ in my life prevented me from seeing Him? How many times had food, uni, internet, music, friends and family stopped me from seeing God at work? How many times has my own stubbornness, laziness and lack of self-control stopped me from moving the curtain? How many times had I sat by the curtain and never considered what was beyond it?

How could I have been content with this?

Some might argue what about when the clouds are there? What if you can’t see the sky? What about winter when the sun sets before anyone is even awake?!

I would reply that they’re taking this analogy too far, but for the sake of discussion (never argument), I would claim external factors. Something other than me getting in the way. At no point does this mean that God is not there. That He is not working. That He is not speaking to us. But maybe something outside our control is getting in the way.

Maybe God doesn’t seem to be there right now. Maybe you’re struggling to remove your net curtain. Whatever it is, I want to know that God is there. He is always there. Talk to Him.