This pair of eagles was perched on the rooftop, amiably and companionably awaiting the rise of the new day, new month, new year, new decade. I wonder what they can see way up ahead, where their eagle eyes can pierce through the fog, the foliage and the distance.
My eyes, on the other hand, are such feeble instruments, requiring spectacles to read the tiny print and binoculars to bring distant things into focus. What meager vision I have by comparison to these two magnificent creatures. And yet, I perch before my day and pretend to see it clearly.
Vision, what a miraculous gift! But how confounding. Because my two eyes, set apart as they are, give me two versions of my world, one from the right and one from the left. Thus, I have two perspectives on every viewpoint, such that by holding them together I may compare them and judge their distance. This is how My Designer teaches me depth perception.
In order to compare what each side sees, some of the “image” from my right eye crosses over to the left side of my brain and some of the “image” from my left eye crosses over to the right. Thus, my brain shares visual input “across its aisle,” considering both sides before concluding what it sees. This is how my Designer teaches me deliberation.
Because of the unique properties of the lens in my eye, the image on my retina is projected upside down. The top is on the bottom and the bottom is on the top. Only as I use my body through my environment, touching, feeling, manipulating what’s before me can I convert the image to see it “right side up.” This is how my Designer teaches me mind-body connection.
Next, my eyes send this abstract collection of color, intensity and pattern on a journey to my visual cortex where the inputs are compared with patterns I have seen before and impressions made by previous experience. Along with other pertinent sensory input, all of this is “processed” in light of what I’ve learned and what I believe. This is how my Designer teaches me understanding.
Finally, I see.
Isn’t it miraculous how inside a problem lay its solution? How inside a question lay its answer? And if we pay close attention, how inside a human lay our solution for humanity? This is how my Designer teaches me about Himself.
Sitting together on a rooftop taking in the long view before the sunrise of a new decade, I pray we might see into the distance and be completely and utterly amazed. Now that would be 2020 VISION.
*For more like this check out Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through Our Bodies.
Have you seen the ducks at Dairy Queen?
See them? Go ahead. Look carefully. See the eye, the beak, the fluffy little body? You see it now, right? Had you seen it before?
I can’t go to Dairy Queen without seeing them now. Just for the record, I do love Dairy Queen. Don’t frequent the place, but there’s one along the bike trail and I am all about the rewards after a good day of riding.
And that store, right along the W&OD Trail was where my eyes were first opened – to the duck. Our family sat at a small table, just beneath the advertising poster on the wall of the store. Our pre-school-aged daughter Olivia pointed to the sign and said, “Look at the duckie!”
We looked, but no, we didn’t see it. She insisted, pointing and describing the details. She wasn’t making this up. Right there in the ice cream, she saw the duckie. And finally, looking as if through her eyes, we saw it too. All the little ice cream swirls completed the heads and beaks and big duckie eyes.
Children see with different eyes. Eyes that haven’t already decided “what something is.” They are open in a way adult eyes don’t seem to be. But even in adults the child-like eyes are still there. I know because, with her help, my eyes could see it as she did. It wasn’t hidden. It just wasn’t apparent until I had a bit of help.
I think the eyes of faith are this way. Sometimes we just need a bit of help seeing what’s already there. Like an Escher painting, we need a shift in perspective to see what we didn’t initially see. Once we see it, it’s obvious. But we may need someone sitting at our table to point it out to us.
This week I heard someone say the Trinity is like this: God above us, God beside us, God within us. I probably have heard that before but it never quite struck me this way. That Christ is the “God beside us” – opening the scriptures to us, imploring us, giving us strength, helping us see – opening our eyes to what’s obvious to Him but not yet to us.
I know the trinity is a sticking point between me and my Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters. The divinity of Christ, his membership with the three, the part He plays in connecting me with God the Father and God the Spirit, is not known to them. They don’t know “God beside them,” just above and within. The Lord and Father they know compels them to incredible obedience – just as that same Father does me. I just have the Son, beside me, who I too often take for granted, pointing the way.
I wonder how many times He has said, “Don’t you see?” And I haven’t. Or I haven’t heard Him. Or I just looked the other way. He is in the perspective-changing business, and He’s all about the opening of eyes. For some I imagine it isn’t till the end of things that His presence allows them to make the triune connection. Of course then any child could see it.