Portals to Joy

What if I dive down under the distortion . . .

I now know that it’s not only me who doesn’t always enter Advent gracefully.  Perhaps you’ve had your own less than elegant entry.Perhaps there’s been an entry that you’ve missed because it didn’t look the way you imagined Advent pause and practice should, deep and rich and even.  If you’ve read my earlier post you’ll know eye surgery has been my portal.  It was so uncomfortable I almost missed it.

Anyway, at this stage of recovery, a black plank rests across the vision of my left eye. It makes me think I have my glasses on and they’ve slipped down so that the top edge horizontally bisects my vision. But there’s nothing there on the outside. The distortion comes from within. The gas bubble inserted in my eye to press, like a tender finger on the place that needs to rest and heal, changes the way I see. It seems to limit my vision.

But what if I dive down under the distortion; the plank in my own eye (remember that story?). What if I stop trying to blink it away or heft it aside. What if I dive down under distortion into the watery dept beneath; into the fluid depths of the Holy? What if am shown a cave, a niche of stunning emptiness, a virgin place where the divine and tender life is born?

What if distraction is a portal for this potent, quiet joy?

About Catherine Smith

A retired minister with the United Church of Canada I’ve grown up in church, been ordained and served communities that are small or in transition. I’ve seen firsthand just how powerful these experiences can be in helping to foster meaningful connections with others and the Other, the mystery that holds us all. My greatest hope is that my writing and this website will help you live well in the big questions that face all of us in this beautiful, aching world.


  1. Catherine Smith on December 12, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Thank you, Kerry. I like your phrase, “imposted muse” . The bar across my vision actually means the gas bubble is shrinking as it should, so, while it makes seeing awkward and frustrating, it is a stage on the journey. And there have been wonders under it all. Here’s to what doesn’t displace the daily but is under and through it all.
    Advent blessings to you too and ❤

  2. Kerry Howarth on December 11, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    As much as I am pained for you to be going through this, Catherine, I love where it is taking your expression. I hope that bar isn’t a permanent fixture in your sight, however, you are doing what you can to make the best of an imposed muse. Blessings to you and much ❤

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