I Lift My Eyes

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, USA

Oct. 13, 2022

Since January 2021, after participating in a twelve-week online spirituality/creativity workshop during the COVID-19 shutdown, I have been gathering regularly with five other sojourners whom I have yet to meet in person, via Zoom.  They are workshop participants, two from Canada, one from England, and two from NW and NE states. I am the lone Southerner.  We gather to practice spirituality together and to encourage each other in our respective arts—quilting, photography, painting, music, and writing.  In a very meaningful way, this group of fellow artists and seekers are “church” to me because I recognize the face of God in them.

(c) “I Lift Up My Eyes,” watercolor by Lois J.

Each month, one of us leads the group in a time of reflection, meditation, and creativity.  Last week was my turn.  I had just returned from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park where I had asked to be open to what the Creator might send me to share.  What I received were panoramic vistas of the oldest mountaintops in the US, worn down from their once sharp peaks by time and the elements and yet still steadfast in their own right.  I received a multitude of mountain streams with brilliant water rushing over mossy stones and through hollows of dense-patched rhododendron.  What I received were peace from the craziness of this present world and grounding in what is Real.

Stream in the Smoky mountains

The Wisdom of the Brook

Rock upon mossy rock
No obstacle or dam
The flowing, crystal water
Will find its way downhill.

No need for barking orders
Or antagonistic judge
Just watch the stream’s soft glistening
And listen to its flow.
© Liz R.

While I was hiking, two psalms from the Old Testament kept echoing in my heart:  Ps. 121, which begins, “I lift up my eyes to the hills,” and Ps. 42, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”  I shared these psalms and some of my photos of mountains and streams with my group and then invited them to take some time to listen for and discern what they heard the Creator saying to them, each one a creator, herself.  What this group shared reflected the voice of the Spirit:

  • The effortlessness of water flowing over the boulders is a reminder of a way to create, to allow our art to happen without our judgment or force;
  • To create is an offering of love, grounded in Love;
  • How often are we real, as Nature is real, allowing our true selves to show and how often do we mask our own true beauty because we think it is insufficient?
  • Do we pay attention to what makes us thirsty for God and then spend time in those things, satisfying our thirst?
  • Creating is an act of being “in the flow.”
  • Creative energy is both steadfast, like the ancient mountains, and transient, like the wispy clouds above them.  God is present in both.

I needed to hear these sacred words.  I have been floundering with my own creativity lately, allowing distractions and the fears and noise of this world to usurp the desire to create.  I have been floundering with my own spirituality lately, questioning my significance.  So as I looked at each of my “companions on the way,” albeit it on a screen, I felt a great Love reminding me that creating out of love—for Creator God, for others, for myself—no matter who receives it, is vitally important and vitally precious.  My significance, and yours, whoever you are and however you create, comes from that Love. We can let go our masks as Nature does hers.

The watercolor included in this blog is an offering from one of our artists, Lois, and the poem above is an offering from our narrative writer, Liz.   Offerings of insight are from the others in this group, all an act of love.

Blessings and love to you ~ Rosemary

A Psalm Song

Love creates in the steadfastness
of the ancient green mountain range
braced against a cerulean sky
where wisps of clouds rise
like incense
to dissolve in a sigh, a whisper,
buried deep in the longings
of the heart.
Love harmonizes in the clear current
flowing over moss-slickened boulders,
casting its score in droplets shimmering
like so many bubbles
in the air.
Love teases in the gnarled roots and scattered stones
that pepper the ageless trail; and I do not
fall.
In the silent soul of the forest
in the abiding womb of the mountains
Love re-creates and enfolds
me, caressing me with the fingers
of a breeze, the murmur
of rolling water.
Love meets me in this place
where deep calls to deep
where longing is cherished
where tears are deemed precious
where I lift up my eyes and my heart
to the hills.

(c) Rosemary McMahan

Yet another creation by the Creator.