On Looking Up

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She’s a busy little girl these days, walking around the house on a mission, opening and closing drawers and doors with abandon. Always on the go, she moves from room to room, playing and laughing and talking the entire time. There’s an entire big world for the exploring, for the learning, so much to see and do. Go, go, go. There’s not a moment to waste.

She’s busy, this girl of mine, but in the past few weeks, she’s taken to lying down, lying still, flat on her back on the floor. She doesn’t do so often and she doesn’t stay down for long, but I’ve watched her do it several times now. She spreads her blanket out, pressing it into place with her small hands, then works her way into the right position, her head pillowed by the soft fabric. She stays there, not moving, not talking, just looking up, up, up for thirty or sixty or ninety seconds. The last time I caught her at it, she had her Cheerio cup with her, and she held it on her chest, taking the small O’s slowly, thoughtfully, carefully, as though she were snacking on popcorn, watching a good show.

She lies there for a minute, sometimes more, sometimes less. And then the allotted time is up and she rolls over and climbs to her feet and in no time at all, she is busy, busy, busy yet again, buoyed by that moment of still.


It’s funny how some memories stick with you over time, how tiny moments flash forward to the present, vivid and real and alive.

I was at Jr. High summer camp, a week of swimming and crafts and music and Jesus. I have photos of me, the too-big t-shirt dwarfing my scrawny limbs, the western-themed beaded necklace adorning my neck. The photos and that necklace lie hidden in a box in my garage, but my memories are few, relegated to impressions, feelings, stray thoughts more than specific pictures and events.

One moment sticks out to me, though, all these years later, perhaps because of the newness of it, the freshness: one day before lunch, a camp leader invited us to join him in prayer, but instead of asking us to bow our heads, he told us to open our eyes wide, to gaze toward heaven. Jesus prayed this way, he told us, and so we stood there as he prayed, one hundred and fifty pre-teens, our necks craned, our heads tilted back, looking up.


And as I enter this Advent season, as I think about the bustle that comes, here at the end of the year, I wonder, in this ever-busy, ever-going life, where there’s an entire big world for the exploring, for the learning, so much to see and do, whether I wouldn’t benefit from taking the time every now and then to pause, to lie still, to look up.

This Thing Called Life

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2 Responses to On Looking Up

  1. Sandy says:

    Interesting post … again. I often pray with my eyes open finding, strangely enough, that I focus better – that my mind doesn’t wander as quickly.

    • Jenn says:

      Interesting. I’ll have to give it a try – I don’t pray with my eyes open very often (unless I’m journalling).