It is all about the eyes.
As a young girl I was at home and comfortable at the beach or the tennis courts. Such an introverted bent would have been ok if my parents lived quiet, reclusive lives, but that was not the case. People came over to our house all the time.
All. The. Time.
These people arrived with the same boundless energy and strong personality as my parents. They had so many questions and so much intense focus toward me. I was intimidated and would squirm away in escape.
If there had been Avatars in those days, I would have gladly submitted one to stand in place of me.
Knowing I would not be able to navigate a life speaking only to tennis balls and kelp, my dad gave me a little conversational trick. He told me to look right between someone’s eyes at the little part of the skin between the eyebrows.
“That spot looks a little like the sand dunes at Zuma…you’ll feel comfortable there and then folks can get to know you instead of watching you squirm and wonder if you are upset with them or reacting to a bad lunch.” (As a kid, I loved how his instructions usually included references to puking.)
He carefully kept any uni-brow men away from the house so I could practice this new skill.
And it worked. This little trick helped me adapt to my anxiety through graduated exposure.
As I grew in confidence, I transitioned to looking at someone directly in the eye, without the Zuma dune crutch. There are a lot of pretty eyes out and about, although, (as many of you know from the personal choices I’ve made), I have never learned to spot a liar by their eyes.
Perhaps this is how it is with our Creator too. He calls us to live more than an Avatar life with Avatar grace. Avatar grace is dutiful presence, check-the-box religion. Kyle Idelman calls it being a fan. Avatar grace shows up and suits out but gives little more. Avatar grace looks good, has all the best features and maybe even a few pat answers, but when the dark nights of the soul hit, those with Avatar grace rarely return my phone calls.
Avatars are fun to play with; cool to design and code in to the 2D web presence, but they are ill-suited for Authentic Living. I think it is best not to game-ify grace. Perhaps transitioning away from Avatars of good intentions and best-laid plans to the Authentic Grace of actions and accountable engagement is a truer form of the Creator’s call for me.
Happy Birthday today, Dad. I still love seeing your eyes and learning from you.