Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)
TITLE: Through My Eyes
By Donna Weaver
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This past weekend while I was reorganizing my office, I came across an old photo album buried under a pile of paper. The album contained snapshots of “me” growing up. My first instinct was to set it aside, but I decided I needed a short break. Flipping through the time-worn pages, I had a few laughs and shed some tears, but as I got to the final pages I realized that it wasn’t my smile, the surroundings, or the other people, that I had been looking at. I was looking at my “eyes” – they were telling the story, the story of my life.
The first photo was precious – a tiny baby wrapped in a blanket, snuggled in her mother’ arms. Eyes closed – a portrait of security and contentment... a bundle of joy, so peaceful. Next there was an adorable child celebrating her birthday, blowing out the candles on her cake, wide-eyed and filled with surprise. I smiled with favor, as I looked at the quirky teenage girl standing at a campsite with her brothers and sisters, her youthful eyes filled with adventure... so happy. My heart filled with the longing to be taken back in time, as I reflected on a high-school senior. She was gazing into the face of her boyfriend, eyes filled with young love and hope for the future... innocent and carefree. Then there was a wedding portrait, the bride’s eyes sparkled with anticipation... filled with admiration and desire. The next picture brought me full circle, the loving eyes of a mother, gazing into the bright eyes of her tiny daughter... a bundle of red-headed joy, my joy!
With each photo, my life flashed before me. My “eyes” continued to tell the story. Captions were not necessary.
As I turned the page, suddenly the photos seemed to change. I was starring into the eyes of a single mom as she sat with her two children, alone on Christmas morning. There was a determination in her eyes, a strength that shone through the sadness. The journey continued, reality hit as I re-lived a young mother’s battle with cancer. The proof had been snapped as she stood beside her parents. Her tired eyes revealed a weariness, a slight hint of fear; I almost had to close the album. I hadn’t expected to be drawn into the story so deeply, my story. A lifetime of “eyes” had filled the pages. As I was about to put the book away, I realized that there was only one picture left in the album. Slowly I turned the page and a delightful lady starred back at me. Her eyes were worn, but they had a “twinkle” about them. Creases formed as she smiled and her eyes glistened with tears of awe and wonder. She was holding her first grandchild, another bundle of joy. Another generation captured on film.
Before I closed the album, I noticed that there were a few blank spots at the end of the book, so I decided to dig through a box containing some recent photos. I added a picture of an attractive mother and her handsome son, taken at his college graduation... her tear-filled eyes sparkled with pride. Of course, I had to add the picture of a grayish-haired woman, surrounded by her four grandchildren. A contagious laughter seemed to fill her eyes as she watched them play in the yard. The final picture was a bohemian looking woman, with smiling eyes, revealing a lifetime of stories. It was a picture of me, just as I am... old - maybe, young at heart - definitely.
This morning I am not looking at a photo, I am looking in a mirror. I focus on the face that is staring back at me. I see “mature” eyes. Eyes that are filled with wisdom and compassion, eyes reflecting the experiences of a life well-lived, eyes content with the person I’ve become... eyes focused on Christ. I don’t know what my “outlook” will be today, but as I smile back at the face in the mirror, I ask myself, “What will others see in your eyes today?”
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