March 20, 2019

To See The Uncharted - Denise M. Ford

These thoughts come to mind as I mull over the idea of this month’s blog theme,

Uncharted Territory…
To open my eyes and see,
To clear my vision to interpret,
To know the meaning of another person’s gaze,
To trust the message within a shared look.

I open the door this morning to peer through the darkness to allow my field of vision to settle on the silhouettes of the spruce boughs.  Their branches are slowly brushing against each other, untangling themselves beneath the dawning light.  I struggle to bring the details into view, to see the dark green outlines forming before me, to bring meaning to their beauty.  In my mind I hear, 
“Come, come discover today, see what is uncharted yet set before you.”
The past few days have broadened my perception and my concept of how I might interpret this theme. Some personal interactions have given me the opportunity to witness how I can see and make sense of personal uncharted territories.  The way the spruce boughs revealed themselves to me this morning reminded me to consider these moments.
On Saturday, while babysitting my grandson, I marvelled at his interpretation of his world.  At nearly 9 months old he has mastered the quick pivoting head move to assure himself that his mommy or his daddy still remains in his line of vision.  When suddenly he becomes aware of their absence his ability to enjoy his surroundings disintegrates into fearful anxiety.  He cries as he loses sight of them.  His uncharted territory appears before him: Nana and Pop-pop staring back at him instead of mommy and daddy.  His eyes reflect his fear and his confusion. In my mind I hear his unspoken questions,
“Where am I?  Why did they leave me?  Am I alone?” 
On Sunday, while walking hand-in-hand with my granddaughter at the local ski hill, we pass an elderly gentleman.  His eyes look wildly about as he grabs the arm of his companion to steady himself.  The man is obviously in an unfamiliar setting, stepping onto a snowy path, the sun casting a harsh glare directly into his eyes.  His wild gaze clearly means he can’t see beyond his precarious position.  His uncharted territory appears like a vast wilderness oppressing and paralyzing him.  In my mind I hear his silent screams,
“Where should I go? Can you take me away from here!” 
On Monday, I spend the afternoon reading to pairs of first graders at the local elementary school.  I meet them at their classrooms, and we chat as we walk to the small reading room.  I try to look directly at them so they can see my genuine interest in what they tell me.  “I was hoping I would see you today,” one young boy says to me.  He runs ahead and when I arrive, I see him sitting at the reading table with his head tilted up toward me.  His eyes look up eagerly to connect with mine.  In my mind I hear an innocent yet mischievous message,
“I’m ready, let’s have some fun!”
Sometimes our eyes allow us to gradually see what might be possible as a new day unfolds before us.  Sometimes our ideas of how we see ourselves in a certain time and place form exaggerated feelings and we react fearfully and uncontrollably.  Sometimes we find ourselves directly engaged in seeing and understanding a message that is sent within a shared look.  To see and to perceive becomes our new uncharted territory.  To ask ourselves,
“What is it that I am seeing?” “Can I face it without fear?” 
“Can I sort through the confusion?” “Can I trust the situation?”
I am currently in a program of vision therapy to improve the way my eyes track and focus.  The goal of one exercise is to correct the choppy motion of my eyes as they try to focus on an object as it moves from point to point.  In order to reassure myself as I do this exercise, I have placed a picture of the face of Jesus on one end of a popsicle stick to use as my focal object.  I find it fascinating to look into the eyes of Jesus, to follow Him, to earnestly train my line of vision on His eyes. As I finish, I usually spend a bit of time simply relaxing and gazing into Jesus’ eyes.  Sometimes I hear those same questions that came to mind over the past few days:
“Where am I?  Am I alone?  Why did you leave me here? 
Where should I go? Can you take me away from here?”
But if I allow myself to settle into the line of vision of Jesus’ eyes, I am reminded of the words I heard this morning as the spruce boughs formed their outlines before me,
“Come, come discover today, see what is uncharted yet set before you.” 
As I look up to Him, I silently state my promise,
“I am ready to have some fun!”

I pray for each of us to open our doors to uncharted territory so we can find and see ourselves in new and exciting spaces!!

As a post note: As I am typing this my daughter-in-law sends me a text to let me know that her first attempt at adult swim class was a success.  However, the goggles she bought to use didn’t work like she had hoped.  While her vision may have been slightly impeded by the pool water, she conquered her childhood fear and managed to discover in her own words, “a safe space for me to relearn what I already knew, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.”  I wish I could tape one of my Jesus stickers to a new pair of goggles and let her use it under the water!!


  1. Beautiful, beautiful! Thank you for this lovely post, Denise! So enjoyed reading it and thinking about what you were sharing.

  2. Thank-you Denise, what a lovely way of "seeing" the uncharted territory before us. Life and each day bring uncharted moments, yet set before us. I appreciate your attitude of wanting to have fun and the lovely exercise to gaze into the eyes of Jesus. This month's theme has caused a lot of reflection for me as well.


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