It’s easy to be lulled into knowing what one is going to see. Familiarity, a sense of comfort, and complacency, play a role in our blindness. It’s as if we adjust the real world to fit the scenes of our imagination. With time one finds the world around them fitting in with detailed nuances of their expectation. Everything is as it should be, but is it real? Everything is in place, but is it true? I see and know but am I looking at the real world?
In times past people had to be reminded of the obvious. “Look at what happened to Babylon: There's nothing left of it. Assyria turned it into a desert, into a refuge for wild dogs and stray cats. They brought in their big siege engines, tore down the buildings, and left nothing behind but rubble. Wail, ships of Tarshish, your strong seaports all in ruins!” (Isaiah 23.13, 14) Am I that different today?
Yesterday I came face to face with a mother still struggling with the death of her twenty year old son. This wasn’t anything anyone expected. There’s nobody to blame. Contrary to the norm, violence, anger, or a moment of idiocy were not involved. A congenital heart defect played out; a young man felt tired and went to sleep. Now a mother struggles to come to terms with a new reality.
Even in our denial, we live in this world. Whatever we might imagine, the world around us is more intense, wonderful, dark, beautiful, and ugly than our painting. I fear what may be obvious. If I am blind to the world around me, do I see the members of the community and family I live in and among?
I want to see more than I do today. I want to rest in the beauty and acts of grace which populate your life and mine. I want to hear the cries of those in distress and do something in response. I want to walk with those who care and even those who don’t. I want to live.
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