Be Thou My Vision

My mood is reflected in the environment as I awaken after a disturbing phone conversation before bed last evening. Angry and bitter she turned her back on the faith of her family, the heritage that is hers as an American citizen and the opportunities that her unique situation in the community affords her. I am deeply saddened by it all.

This morning I read an except from Richard G. Lee’s book The Coming Revolution and I got a sense of the reason for some of the underlying angst. Lee writes that in early America, just before the Revolution, there was really no “country” mindset. The settlements united only after Thomas Paine got the separate clusters of disparate people to realize their shared vision. Common Sense showed the people that they were in agreement on two counts: 1) that God is king and 2) that life should be free from oppression. In a mere 52 pages, Thomas Paine explicated the hope of  ALL who had come to America and articulated a vision that spawned a Revolution.

I got to thinking about that, especially after the disturbing phone conversation I had the evening before. The young woman shouted at me, “Those white men are your forefathers, not mine. They oppressed people who look like me.” When I told her we now have a Black president and in only 8 short years, whites will be in the minority in this country, she countered, “You people don’t have to worry about a thing, even if that is true, white people will still have the power. Every boss I have ever had is white. You will still have the power. I can’t even worship as I please. There is no Buddhist temple near enough to my house and I don’t have a car.” I couldn’t respond to the Buddhist rant, I was still trying to digest that she had actually called her mother “you people!”

The conversation went on and on like this for over an hour. I was undone. It hit me this morning that this is precisely the reason America cannot gets its footing. We have nothing to unite us. There is no faith in “God as our king,” nor is there a sense that this is our country, our heritage. Diversity is difficult, but in early America there were common threads  within the diversity. I don’t see those common threads today. I can’t see beyond the heavy mist this morning, my Friends. Even Ghandi realized sometimes people just can’t unite and so formed Pakistan for the Muslims of predominately Hindu India. It grieved him to do so, but he could see no other way.

Ann’s words from yesterday’s post over at (in)courage echo in my head (

Patient people dare to gratefully accept people where they are. Grateful for who they are now, appreciative of works of art not yet finished, but still deeply loved.

Patient people dare to receive the present always as a present — grace.

And wouldn’t you know I have named this year, The Year of Grace, and it is Saturday where her cell phone minutes and my cell phone minutes are free. There is no wondering what I should do.

All is grace,



14 comments on “Be Thou My Vision

  1. Dawn… I understand the ache in your heart and I understand the ache in your daughter’s heart… God is able to be a healing and a balm to both and your end response in your post is definitely what God has been showing us with the many close to us who struggle and are but a work of art in progress… God’s abundant grace sees vividly into the future and sees all of the glory that one day ‘will’ be revealed… because of the finished work of His beloved Son… and His unmeasureable love towards us, the heirs of His promise.
    Our lives are all unfinished canvases from our vantage point… but God knows each one as a masterpiece from His Abba heart.
    Only believe
    Our children are called holy because of our faith… God will bing them home by His Father love. One day our joy will be full.
    ~grace~ it will be a grand year
    praying and aching and rejoicing and believing with you dear friend

    • Dear Susan,

      God knows I need to learn a lot more in this one than Abby does. Heaven sakes, I am more than twice her age! I did talk to her on the phone and we had a good conversation. Philosophically we are miles apart, but I will find those common spaces that present themselves from time to time and make the most of them. Today we talked about getting vegetables into our diet and how her brothers need to learn from her about genetically-modified foods. We also talked about her future. I planted a seed that God gave me. I pray for fruit.

      Thanks for being with me in prayer for her.

  2. Dear Dawn . . . heartbreaking to read, but your eyes and heart are in the right place, friend. I so agree with Susan’s comment and am praying along as we are all unfinished works or art.

    • Dear Andrea Dawn,

      Without Ann I wouldn’t have gotten this one right. God bless her ministry. She just speaks right into me. It is so uncanny…and at just the right times, too. Thanks for praying. This kind may come out only by prayer and fasting. Who knows?

  3. Oh, dear Dawn, What parents go through in loving their children through it all. My heart and prayers are with you. Be of good cheer. God “is on it.”
    Love and Hugs,

  4. Dear Nancy,

    The difficult part for me is determining the loving things to do. This cyber-community of Godly women have thrust my spiritual growth into the stratosphere and my children are the beneficiaries more often than not. Since first reading Ann Voskamp’s blog in the fall of 2010 and reading her book in 2011, I live so much more in the present. A woman at the School of Christian Mission said to me that she doesn’t like that she is so task-oriented. She is trying to take care of relationships more and not let the tasks take her attention. I understood her completely. She is a Martha. I know that way well. I told her I understood and we had a meeting of the minds. Quite an experience.

    I called Abby this morning and she was working so she called me back after she got done working. We also had a meeting of the minds. God is on it, indeed He is!

    Are you staying for lunch after church? I hope so,

  5. Dear Dawn,
    You did so well with this! God is indeed “on it”. I am praying for you and your dear Abby.

  6. Good parents feel the pain of other parents whose children are losing their way. God created us to live in community and I am only on solid ground when I am among the community of faith. I want that for Abby. Thank you for your prayers. They will not go unheard for God hears the heart cries of His children. I’m counting on that.

  7. Dawn, I have read and re-read this since you posted this! There is more here than you can imagine, for me to digest. I live where there is great poverty of both material needs and of the soul. Since I have been involved on the school system, I have had to look “head on” at some of the feelings your daughter expressed. I admit I was taken aback (and very sad) that those words were aimed at you… by your daughter. But that in itself has helped me to realize that only God himself can break through the wall of hatred that exists from many blacks toward whites. Coming myself from a rearing where I was taught that no man should be judged by another because no human can know another’s heart, I have struggled through many episodes of judgement here, based on color, based on Christian, based on Catholic and based on age.

    So much to think about through your sharing about your daughter and her perspective. so much to think about where it all comes from… the devil’s role much self-hatred and self-disappointment is causing the lashings out. I need to look anew at those who persecute. God, help me to see… I know you have me on the edge of something.

    Ann’s post on patience that you shared… A lifeline! I am not even kidding! A lifeline! I will be closing my eyes and giving permission for people to be where they are. Grace! May I share your year of grace? I love you, Dawn!

  8. Carrie,

    It is very important to me for you to show up here. When you didn’t I was thinking maybe I said something on our walk that hurt you or maybe your world traveling and the wedding were just keeping you tired…I also thought about the new grandchild and your role as grandmother keeping you busy…on and on I thought.

    There are those whose perspectives I crave when I have to think something through. You are one of those. Thanks for thinking deeply with me and letting me know you are. I, too, love you. There is enough grace, amazing grace, for all of us.

    Praise the Lord,

  9. Oh my dear treasure! Hurt me? So far from it! I reply little because I am like a kindergardener with mouth hanging open learning and growing and exclaiming! What can I the learner, add! I think… I digest… I ponder… And I pray for growth. I am always here looking for your new posts, hungry for my next epiphany. I learn too, from your reader comments. In such company I am a novice. As such, I have been silently absorbing. I will post.

    The new grandbaby is awesome! My other two grandchuildre are turning into fun people. The wedding was awesome! The trip was fantastic. The in-laws are embracing and supportive. We totally love our new daughter-in-law. So many blessings! So much Eucharisteo! I want so to bike with you from one end of the bike path to the other! Please pencil me in for next summer! Meanwhile, I promise you I am here… I may be being quiet for lack of intelligent words. 🙂

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