Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Troubled waters

Monday night was a rough night for me.  I spent the entire day driving back from North Carolina.  We went to a family reunion this weekend and we visited with my sister, Brooke and her Marine.
Brooke and Nick goofing off, sand spa treatment.

We had a great time, spent one day at the beach and I wanted to stay forever.  My Dad went and saw my brother that lives very close by and they chatted for hours which was great.  

Despite all the awesomeness (and the fact that I have no idea why anyone who lives at the beach would ever need to see a therapist) I have spent 28 hours driving in the car with my children in 8 days and that is rough.  Then I came home to more violated boundaries.  Jonathan had apparently spent the entire day at my house while I was driving back home 'doing yard work.' This was not welcome or appreciated.  And was a total display of power.  

Trust me, I do not relish weeding, or cutting the grass, especially since he took the lawn mower several weeks back.  But really?  Who are you kidding?  Who are you trying to convince that you are a nice guy?  Nice guys don't screw whores.  Good dads pay the mortgage and go to work.  Anyone whose opinion is swayed positively by this behavior is not someone I would respect.   But then again, Jonathan, you have never cared much about what I respect.  

I walked through the house making sure nothing more was amiss, wondered again if I should be staying here alone with the kids and decided to attempt to be grateful that I don't have to weed the front yard.  

And then the texting started.  Over 200 words in texts in one hour.  The message was pretty simple.  He's showing up in the morning (today) to take the kids at nine a.m. regardless of whatever we have agreed to custodially for the kids this week.  He doesn't care if I call the police and he is working on me losing custody of the kids.  (I realize this is legal information but it's all so far out there that sharing it publicly doesn't really matter)

I will admit.  I was scared.  Very scared.  Would he show?  Could I stand up to him alone?  I have never stood up successfully to this person.  Most people from the outside looking in would have thought I ran the show but those the closest realized that he wore me down into doing whatever he wanted. Like coarse sand paper over a raw wound.  It bothered me so immensely when we were married.  No, I don't consider us to be married any longer, if you love me please stop referring to him as my husband, it really bothers me.

If there is one thing I am, I am some one who HIGHLY values her word.  So when I would say I was not going to do something and then I would do it I would always have a huge crisis of character.  And this happened weekly/daily so I basically was always questioning my character.   I have learned that this isn't really weak character, it's co-dependence.  

I find this not so hilarious.  Co-dependent.  That's a hoot.  Me?  Have you met me?  Umm. Really, I'm like the strongest, most opinionated woman you've ever known.  But the facts are the facts and unfortunately that's a word I have owned as having described the previous ten years of my life.  So if I say no a lot now, just understand that I'm making up for lost time.  It's not that I don't love you.  I'll come back to a middle ground soon.  

Co-dependent or not I was terrified last night.  Pacing the floor, wondering, theorizing, making up scenarios that might or might not happen.  Reading and rereading our custody agreement.  Crying so hard I couldn't read The Word to soothe my soul.  I came to the realization that sleep was not on the agenda.  I called a friend and vented.  She listened.  Texted another friend to ask for prayer for our safety.  

This comes down to one thing for me, this fear about Jonathan that overtakes my life and reeks havoc; it is simply one thing: I don't trust God.  It's awful and true.  A lot of people in my life have buried children and even more women in my life, including myself, have been violently violated by men.  What I want from God when when Jonathan acts crazy, is for him to guarantee for me that those things will not happen.  I will not bury my children, they will bury me.  And no man will ever attack me again.  Ever.  I will be safe and because of that guarantee then I can be unafraid.  

You can scour his word.  It doesn't say that.  There is no such guarantee.  And because of this, when things get crazy I hold him at a distance.  I allow him to come so close, but the center of my heart, I keep that closed.  Because I know there is no promise that my children will wake in the morning or that I will be okay.   To be fair to myself, I pray, I beseech him to come and comfort me, I ask for his rescue and protection and for me to have eyes to see his presence in my life.  I read the Word, assuming I'm not crying too hard to do so.  But in the center of my soul I know that no matter how close I let God get he may allow exactly what I want not to happen to happen. He may allow the thing I fear the most to have its way in my life.  

It has not always felt like a choice for me, the fear.  It has often felt like having freckles, this is not something I can change.  Last night I learned that I don't have to change it.   I can accept the fact that I'm afraid and I can still do what I am called to do, give it to God.  I'm not sure he expects me to not feel the fear.   Maybe so, the Bible says not to fear over 360 times.  But I am stumbling through a different way of handling it.  When that wave comes and overtakes me, I can sit and still my spirit and pray to turn it over to God.   I can choose to believe that like Peter as his courage falters Jesus will immediately reach out his hand.  There is no delay.  Perhaps he won't protect me in the way I want him too.  Maybe he won't thwart Jonathan's will or anyone else's in order to keep us physically safe.    But that doesn't mean he isn't reaching for me as I lose my courage, that doesn't mean that the minute I cry out for help his hand is not on me pulling me up.  Days like today I would prefer a safer God.  One crafted to Shannon's liking.  But in humility I realize that the true God of our universe is my great comforter.  He will never leave me or forsake me, and despite the fact that evil is reigning in the world that doesn't mean he won't reign in my life.  All I have to do is ask.  

So Lord,

Please save me.  

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'"  Matthew 14:31

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I'm blogging from the mountains. The kids and are camping for a few days with an ex boyfriend's family (he's married and has two kids). We're sharing a yurt. His wife invited me. Yurts are small the ironies here are endless. The kids are having a great time and Eowyn is a terrible sleeping partner especially in a single bed. Not used to that I usually get her in the morning and she's awesome at that time of day, apparently she's not so great to fall asleep with. It's also a really bad idea to take something to sleep and then to take a walk with your two year old strapped to your chest. We made it back and I fed her m&ms to keep her quiet until she fell asleep, more irony. My kids are not as amused camping as they/I thought were going to be. Eowyn thinks she can swim. I forgot swim diapers. Rowan has asked 100,000 questions just today and it's four minutes after noon. I'm not smart enough to figure out to add pictures from my phone do you'll have to find me on twitter @notjustsurvive

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Open Theists, Calvinists, Arminianists.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed his own blood for my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, O, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

It is well with my soul 
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

This is apparently an old Calvinistic song. Horatio Spafford wrote it after all four of his daughter's had died in a tragic Atlantic voyage in 1873, he had lost his only son 2 years before and most of his wealth to the great Chicago fire about that same time. This was his response to experiencing all of these tragedies. I heard that he was a Calvinist from a pastor and I can see how you can derive that from the hymn.

I grew up singing this song. Specifically while standing next to my Grandfather in his Presbyterian Church with his booming voice. I can still hear his voice singing that song if I close my eyes and someone hums the refrain. My Grandmother bought a painting when I was a child with sea billows on it and part of the first verse. This hymn is a powerful anchor to my family and my childhood spirituality. It's fair to call the song Calvinistic. I haven't done any research on Horatio, so other than knowing his family history and that he was deeply spiritual I have no idea what is leanings were on the future and God's knowledge of it.

For me this song is about making peace with my life and with God. Whether God has scripted every hour of it or not (I don't believe He has), this is the life I have to live. The moment I have to live is now and the future I'm walking toward is my own. I believe that I have choice. I have choice in how I respond to my present circumstance and that is how things between God and I need to be well with my soul. This doesn't mean I don't grieve sorrow and pain immensely, of course I do. That is good for me. But it does mean that there is a time to grieve and then there is a time to make peace with God and the life you are living to get up and move on. I will always carry the losses of my life with me. They will never leave me but I have a choice to accept them and learn from them or to fight them and God.

My sins are paid for by the blood Christ, but unlike devout Calvinists I believe that this is available for anyone and everyone. I believe that God is willing that none should perish. Which is why he delays Christ's return because he wants to give as many people as possible as much time as he can for them to repent and turn to him. I don't believe that God would create people who knew had no chance of ever turning to him. Can you imagine bearing child and deliberately choosing to never love him and turn him over to hell before he was even two? I cannot reconcile that picture with a loving God.

This makes me a bit of an Arminianist or an Open Theist. Actually it definitely makes me at least an Arminianist. I'm probably closer to an Open Theist but I'm still processing that. If you're interested there's a great book I'm reading on this right now by Gregory Boyd called God of the Possible.

What are some hymns, poems or spiritual practices that are near and dear to you?

Do they fit with your current theology? Or are they comfortable because they're familiar?
How have they comforted you in times of joy or suffering? How does God still speak to you through them?

Or do you need to move on to some new thoughts and practices that would be beneficial to where you are today? What would that look like for you?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about a lot of things lately.  profound statement there, huh?  If you know me well you know this is totally normal.  One of the many things that I've been thinking about has to do with women and their bodies.  Their sexual and physical identities, how they express them and how they honor them. 

I'm really shitty at this.  Probably not new information to any of you.  You don't stay with a man like Jonathan for a decade if you're great at honoring your body, or any other woman's either for that matter.  I've been trying to lose weight for, forever.  This is slightly ridiculous since up until 4 years ago I never struggled with my weight.   Oh I thought I did but I wouldn't have known what overweight and my body had looked like back then if it had slapped me in the face. 

I thought I was fat in high school so much so that for several months I had a steady diet of one apple a day.  That's it, one apple.  I can't remember how that all ended but eventually I got hungry again.  I learned through that time that you really can teach your body to completely ignore the signal of hunger.  I literally after a month no longer felt hunger at all.  That is dangerous information for any person with body image issues to have.  If you struggle in this area please seek counseling and tell someone who will take you seriously.

Thankfully, or not so much, I developed other issues in other areas with my body about that same time so I ended up staying far away from that slippery slope.  I also remember two of my girlfriends in school being hospitalized for anorexia nervosa.  One of them literally missed a family member's graduation.  This was several months after I had started eating normally again.  My parents never really noticed that I wasn't eating in the first place and I remember my mother saying that this girl's parents must have been so angry with her.  I remember being really thankful that she didn't die.  I remember that only one of our friends was allowed to call her for some ridiculously short amount of time each day while she was hospitalized.  

And I remember wondering how the hell I didn't know?  If she was that thin, starving herself so completely that her body was shutting down it's organs, how do you not know that someone is killing themselves?  

That is just one way that we kill our bodies by dishonoring them.  We kill them with our thoughts and what we say to ourselves and about ourselves on a daily basis.  And you can kill them by totally dishonoring them sexually.  I'm reading a book right now called See Me Naked.  (Nothing like Fifty Shades of Gray.)   Great book, I recommend it and it talks about this issue specifically in a way that is respectful, honest and important. This is a new topic for me to explore in regards to me and to what the church has said to me about it.  I'm great at theorizing and trying to help discuss topics that affect other people not so much great at realizing how those same things affect me.  The church's position on sex has been a hot topic for the church for more than a generation.  

Any one remember Dawson McAllister?  

Oh please let me forget those radio broadcasts. 

I think what I'm learning is that unfortunately by holding tightly to what I believed to be God's standards I completely ignored my body's voice.  Doesn't that sound weird?  My body has a voice.  But yes it does.  And holding to what I thought was God's standard for me helped for its voice to be silenced.  It was shouting at me for years that something was wrong.  If you want to discuss what that shouting looks like that will need to be a private conversation.  I silenced it willingly.  I didn't know that this was wrong.  I thought I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do.  So I ignored it and I stuffed any emotions that went along with that voice to the bottom of a very deep well.  Maybe the reasons I did this don't matter but you should know that the voice of the church ringing loudly in my ears created a dissonance between my body and my belief system.  And a classic Shannon fault, always honor belief above self.  That can be good if your beliefs are right and true and aligned with God, our heart can steer us wrong, but if your beliefs don't line up with God's truth then that is a dangerous hierarchy.  

I was afraid to let my husband touch me.  I thought this fear was evil.  I thought that the fact that I felt this way meant something was wrong with me.  I was clearly not a Godly wife.  A Proverbs 31 woman, ha, far from it.  When he would come near me I would shudder and tense.  I was scared.  There was good reason for me to be afraid and when I told people that I was they would scoff.  Scoff at me, at my fear of my husband.  The church shrugged off my fear and told me to call my OB/GYN, told me I need counseling, told me I needed to submit. I did all those things.  And I ignored myself.  I ignored my heart.  I ignored all the alarms going off internally.  I believed the person I had pledged my life to and I trusted him when he said something was wrong with me.  And that he was upholding God's standards and loving me as he should.

As I try to find myself again through this process I am committed to finding God's truth in this.  I do believe God holds to standards sexually and physically that are his best for all of us.  I do believe that he has standards for how we should treat our bodies in all areas: what we eat, whether we fast or not, how we value sleep and exercise.  I have been learning the art of fasting over the last year.  Partly why I'm forcing myself to learn that discipline is because I believe it gives me greater clarity in my relationship with God and more awareness of myself.  I can hear both of us better.  Eating whatever the hell I want to eat whenever I want to eat it takes me toward living in the moment and less mindful living.  

I'm not sure how I heal from all the sexual wounds I have suffered now that I am a single Christian woman.  I think God can knit together and heal my heart.  I think counseling and reading great books will help.  I think really actually pouring into God's Word and thinking critically about the message our church teaches about sex will also help.  But I wonder for a woman like me if I were to love again how would I still be broken?  How does one heal thyself?  Perhaps this week's fast will help me walk toward that answer.  I hope so.  

Monday, July 16, 2012


We're going home.  If any of you out there in blog world would like to let my ex know this I'm sure you will feel free too.  For over the last week my children and I have been in our own personal exile.  Due to some legal confidence on my ex's part I no longer felt safe in my own home.  So we left.  And we were safer.  I knew we were.  I could feel it in the confidence with which I woke in the morning.  

But earthly safety is a farce.  It's not real.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow or an hour from now.  That doesn't mean it's not a good idea to be wise and that is what I was trying to be: wise.    I'm not sure we will be as safe in our own home but I know we need to return.  I've been praying and seeking counsel and I know that although we are taking a risk that our personal space will be violated I am hoping that is the extent of the risk.  My children need to be in their own home, their own space with their own toys and beds.  I need my kitchen and bed and craft room chair.  I'm hoping that we will be able to stay at 220 for a while longer.  Others think that is a reasonable hope but whether or not we are I want to stay there for now.  I want to return to our structure and our normal.  

I had hoped that we would never have to leave our home because of another person's desire for control or things or just their blatant disregard for respect of me but we did.  And it's been good.  This week has been so great for my children and I.  We have become so much closer.  We've had a lot of fun and learned to be silly and laugh again together.  We've shared our hearts and not too much sleep but they all have rested in my arms daily.  The sound of their deep breathing and belly laughs have warmed my soul.  I know that whether or not it's the four of us from now until we each meet Jesus that we are going to be okay.  

As a friend said yesterday, it's never just the four of us.  God goes with all of us every step of the way.  We are not alone.  The burdens of raising and molding these children don't rest solely on my shoulders.  My job is to point them to Jesus.  When I succeed, when I fail, when life fails them, when their father is an asshole or when he's a 'disneyland' dad.  My job is to point them to Christ.  He alone will be enough for them.  He will be enough for me.  He is the one that knits meaning and worth into our hearts.

I am not really happy in life right now.  It sucks quite a bit.  Regularly.  But I have a joy that will not be taken from me.  There are promises for me that I can count on from God here and now, today.  He is faithful.  He loves me.  He cares for every tear I shed.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  To do so would be in opposition to his very nature.  Because I know these things for me, I know them for my children as well.  And that is the way God fills the role I rely on him the most for right now.  He is my comforter.  When there are no physical arms present to hold me he is there to comfort.  He will comfort me as I mourn or fear or cry.  When it all feels like too much and I have reached the end of me I have reached the very beginning of him.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.   Plans to give you a hope and a future."

Monday, July 9, 2012


I recently got a new tattoo.  It was partially because I wanted to cover a butterfly I had on my right shoulder that I never really loved.  The butterfly was my only every "spur of the moment" tattoo and it just didn't fit my body well.  It was too small and lonely on my shoulder.  For years I've been thinking of either incorporating it into a scene or getting it removed.  Then the Great Reveal happened and the fact that I had gotten that tattoo with Jonathan right after our first reconciliation sealed its fate.  It had to go, laser it off or cover it up.  

The tattoo I now have in place of it is from a picture that I saw on Pinterest of all places months ago.  I saw this image and it spoke to me.  It told me that everything that is physical doesn't remain it will change our physical bodies will cease and we will become spiritual beings.  For me the image said see, there is more here than is to be seen.  Things will morph and change and the totality of our existence is not our body.  See how the tree becomes the birds, it's a metaphor for what we will do one day.  

Our earthly bodies, they are the trees, we keep them for a while.  They are beautiful and firmly rooted to the earth because that is where they stay.  But within that tree there are birds.  Birds (our spirit, heart, mind and soul) within it's branches and as the tree one day withers and dies the birds are released and fly away.  They are no longer required to remain in the tree.  They still are real, they still exist and now they are free to go home to the place where they will rest for eternity.  

I realize that this is a lot of metaphor for some of you.  But I do write, writers like metaphors.  But for me it's also art.  Faith and hope.  I am not eternally bound to this body and this world.  I can nurture those things within me, my spirit, heart, mind and one day I will be free from everything that binds and rusts and destroys.  

This is a really terrible picture but I wanted you to get the idea.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

To Fly Solo

The Craft Room
My favorite chair is here.  The one I picked all by myself and totally disregarded the cost.  I’ve never spent that much money on furniture for me before or since.  Now it is partially covered with red sharpie marker courtesy of my little girl.  I’ve tried to scrub them off with stain remover; they are faded yet persistent against the white fabric.  They scream, “yes” I let great grandma and granddaddy watch the kids and they thought it was perfectly normal for a two year old to be quietly occupied for 30 minutes.  Clearly it’s been a while since they had small children. 

It’s white and has large gray flowery swirls all over it in a random pattern.  Has a separate large comfy ottoman that can be used as a seat in a pinch.  Just the ottoman alone was almost $300, what was I thinking?  Yet even now knowing how broke I am, if I had to go back again?  I would respend it, in all its six hundred dollar glory. For one chair.  It’s the one despite the marker that grabs every woman’s attention who walks in the door to my craft room.  Other moms have threatened to steal it and I have warned them that there would be repercussions.  

Jesus and I meet in this chair morning after morning.  Sometimes he is there waiting for me when I rise too early to appease my body’s desire for sleep.  He always gets up and gestures for me to sit.  Sometimes he perches on the ottoman next to me and holds my hand while I talk about the dreams I had the night before or listens as I rattle off my long to do list for the day.  And sometimes he sits on the floor next to me, silent as I drink my coffee and the sunlight. 

The walls are the perfect blue for a sunny room, too dark for any old room, but perfectly shaded for a room with tons of morning sun.  The carpet isn’t perfect not at all what I would have chosen but soft nonetheless and encourages those without a seat to make their home upon it.  My brother has fallen asleep snoring upon it once or twice. The filing cabinet is misplaced in the corner of the room next to a large stack of frames I need to hang up or put away. There’s a collage of pictures of my oldest on the wall with an appropriate Irish quote underneath, a bow to our heritage.

The room smells of all the potential crafts contained therein and candles and laundry detergent.  The counters and cabinets and shelves are in a perpetual state of slightly askew organization.  There are two or three projects halfway begun on the counter and clean laundry piled in baskets hoping for someone other than me to fold it.  The door to the bathroom and washer is pushed all the way in its pocket and still waiting for that second coat of paint.  There are bare wires for a light fixture above the mirror in the bathroom.  The floor needs to be mopped. 

The sound is silence, except for the birds chirping in the back yard.  The sun streaming in from the windows is almost too much this early in the morning.  I should finish hanging those curtains.  This is my home, my safe place, the one that soothes my heart.

The Pittsburgh Zoo. 

I haven’t been there since I was a small child.  We talked about taking the kids here but it never happened.  Now I’m here, with my Dad at my side, kids running ahead.  It smells zoo-like.  Harvey pinches his nose, yuck!  But not until we’re halfway around the first circle; I try to pinpoint for him which one stinks, but they all do. 

The animals are gorgeous and awake and to be seen.  The walk is hilly and tiring for all five of us, but new sights propel us forward.  I hear snatches of conversations and feel dehydrated most of the time.  Wonder if the kids need water, they wouldn’t stop to drink it if I offered silly kiddos.

My children’s smiles are like sunshine, again too much for me.  There are baby ducks on the path I see my and other children terrorize them slightly detached and suddenly realize I should engage and stop them from chasing those poor ducks. 

The way is unclear but I assume circular as every zoo I’m usually attending is that way.  The animals are not in an order that I understand and there’s an opportunity to pet an elephant.  I do not quite jump at the chance.  She hits me with her ginormous ears three times while the pictures are being taken. She’s chewing and I’m trying to smile for the camera and hold the baby.  When her ear brushes against me I feel the movement of the breeze and something gentle and forceful against my arm, moving my hair.  Almost as if simply her ear could knock me off balance. But her skin.  I’ve never felt anything like it.  As I run my hand ever so softly over her side I almost jump back in surprise.  It’s as rough as a leather jacket left out in the sun for a hundred years.  Cracked, pocked like gridlines etched into the side of her belly.  Maybe she has given birth and these are her stretch marks.  Her tattoos of honor and life. This is nothing like what I thought it would feel, rough and yet completely gentle at the same moment.  Supple and yet dry.  She seems to shift a millimeter with my touch, can someone who weighs a ton or two feel my touch?  I wonder if I hurt her.  Dad says that elephants’ skin is very sensitive.  

I walk on.  It’s not too hot just overcast and cool enough for a long walk to be appreciated.  I carry the baby off and on and herd the boys.  It’s like an out of body experience almost as if I’m watching all of us.  I stay on the phone, texting and try to remember to speak in order to keep my feet on the ground and prevent myself from floating off.  That would be awkward.  I feel like I need a lead balloon to tie me to the ground.  

Of course leaving is problematic and I’m alone again.  Managing solo.  My dad walks ahead as Harvey throws his fit.  He was never comfortable parenting me, a bachelor for too long and he certainly isn’t comfortable watching me parent in a difficult situation.  Harvey has a hard time transitioning out of things he loves and he loves animals almost more than me.  At first I kneel down with him and encourage him to obey.  Then I make him aware of the consequences of not listening.  He melts into a puddle on the ground.  I pass off the baby to Dad and kneel with Harvey once more.  Dad keeps walking distancing himself as far as he can from the situation. 

“You realize Harvey you cannot swim today at Uncle Scott’s if we don’t leave now?” 

“I don’t CARE ABOUT SWIMMING, I WANT TO SEE THE KIDS STUFF.”  Yes, he’s screaming, tears streaking down his dirty, gorgeous face. 

“Harvey, I understand that you’re really upset and want to stay at the zoo longer but we have to go now, everyone’s hungry and we need to eat lunch.”

“I don’t care about LUNCH, I’M NOT HUNGRY.”

“We’re going to McDonald’s.”  Yep, that’s some stellar parenting.

“I DON’T WANT MCDONALDS; I WANT TO PLAY AT THE PLAYGROUND.” Not sure anyone but me could have understood what he said at this point.  I was just trying to get him to walk out of the zoo on his own two feet. 

Harvey and I make it through but not without some bruised egos and idle threats.  I’m longing to feel like I’m not walking through Jell-O or floating away.  The sun is high and hot now, we are sweating and sticky and mad.  Life is unsimple and I just want peace.  I near tears and beat them back.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Sorry guys, away for the weekend.  And doing most of my writing for my class.  Here's the poem that is launching me into what I'm working on for this week:

Tell All The Truth
Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth's superb surprise;

As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind. 

Emily Dickinson.