I stand inside looking at the smudges on the window … and never notice how sunlight sparkles on the lake across the road. I’m looking at a surface rather than through a surface, and in doing so miss what God has to show me. We all suffer from this malady of unawareness, this habitual inattention that robs us of gifts God offers us: the shadows of clouds on mountains, the lingering flavor of a peppermint, a child’s delight that we hung up their drawing, the hesitancy behind someone’s smile, the eagerness of a “special one” for love. All discernible yet seldom perceived.
Ken Gire wrote Windows of the Soul to help us see past the surface – of each sound, each touch, each experience – to what lies beyond. He’s guiding us to treat “surfaces” as “windows” and so deeply nourish our souls. He’s teaching us a “discipline of awareness” by which we, caught unawares, taste intimacy with God. As Gire says on page 17,
[God’s] search begins with something said. Ours begins with something heard. His begins with something shown. Ours with something seen. Our search for God and His for us meet at windows in our everyday experience. These are the windows of the soul.
The book’s first chapter ends with a Prayer for Awareness that changed my life. As its words sank deep I suddenly noticed the lovely heart waiting to be seen beyond the surface of someone I’d avoided for years. Tears rushed from my heart and spilled down my cheeks. Surface became window. And I finally saw what was new to me – but not at all new to God.
Gire’s prayer ends with these words:
Help me to be aware of the pictures in my life / that are everywhere around me and at all times / showing me something I need to see, / telling me something I need to hear, / offering me something I need to receive.
Help me to look beyond the surface of those pictures to see windows.
Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive / what you are offering me through these windows, / that I might sense what is dear to You / so that it might become what is dear to me.
I love this book. I’ve shared it with many. It’s rich with stories that make a seemingly abstract subject easy to grasp. Its words guide us to genuine relationship, connection, and intimacy – not just with people, but with God. The words of this book have pierced my heart, I believe they’ll also pierce yours.
[Windows of the Soul – by Ken Gire , Zondervan Publishing House, 1996]
Book Review: © Lynne Fox, 2016