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What do you want me to do for you?

There was a blind beggar sitting by the roadside, or so the story goes, when Jesus and his disciples were passing by on their way out of Jericho. Of course, the blind man did not know who was passing by, only that there was a commotion. But when he heard that the stir was about Jesus of Nazareth he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Perhaps it was the plaintiveness of this man’s voice or the sincerity and desperation in his tone that got Jesus’ attention. Or maybe it was the man’s perseverance and increasing volume as he shouted to be heard that gave Jesus pause. Possibly it was simply the potential and possibility Jesus saw in the life of this man that inclined Jesus to ask that the man be called upon.

The story leaves no doubt about the delight that filled that moment. Throwing his cloak aside the man jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“I want to see.”

The circumstances in our world and particularly in our nation today, leave no doubt that I am that blind man. I’m that beggar. I am Bartimaeus, son of the unclean. Lord, have mercy on me.

Help me to see where my place of privilege has kept me in the dark. Show me where my teaching has been sparse and my learning was filtered and faulty. Hear my pleading, my sincerity and my determination to come face to face with the truth — a truth I have seen but not recognized, a truth I have heard but not responded to, a truth so ugly I have turned away from it in disgust and disbelief, even as it has been shared by trustworthy friends.

Today it is clear that the truth doesn’t disappear just because it remains unacknowledged. Truth stands its ground, waiting to speak. It waits for us to address and set aside the falsehoods, biases and preconceived notions which currently cloud our vision. It waits patiently for each of us to respond to the question Jesus asks: what do you want me to do for you?

I want to see.

Lord, heal these eyes and expand my vision. Grant me the courage to look at what’s hard to see and to listen to what’s hard to hear, so I can walk closely with you and with those who bear the weight of injustices leveled by me and by those like me.

Lord, have mercy, as we learn to walk by faith into new sight.

The key to 2020 Vision is in View

Evan and Evelyn Eagle greet the sunrise before the new year

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.

Beyond the Clearing Where Life Gets Real

reading glasses and journalLife is pristine through my close-up lenses.
My hand-writing, clear and crisp,
the grain of my table, inviting,
the lines of the photo, smile.
All, brush strokes of the master.

They draw me into the world on the page
that takes me far away
to that delightful Narnia;
Where children and creatures,
wardrobes and weather,
and a Mighty Lion play at life.

Or to that vacation destination, so alluring from the magazine cover.
Wouldn’t it be nice to drink a toast with my spouse
overlooking grand glaciers or pristine lakes before azure skies?

But, the morning paper screams headlines and exploding full color photos.
I shake my head to be rid the images…
hurt and hardship, death and destruction,
suffering for its own sake, inflicted man upon man.

Where, O God, is our humanity?

I look up in lament, but I can’t see you.
The world is a-blur through my magnifying lenses.
A foggy mess of all things further than my own hand.

Take off the close-up’s!
Be brave enough to see what’s in the distance.
It’s real; not a novel. Not a dream vacation.
It’s a way of life for real people who deserve my real response.

In the clearing, I can recognize my neighbor.
He’s the regular runner and the dog-walker.
She’s the Mom walking kids to the bus stop.
They’re the middle-aged couple,
then the chatty pair,
and the glum teen.

Beyond the clearing,
silent and still,
a trio of deer graze
under the blazing red of an autumn branch,
early to adapt to the shorter days
and the cooler ways
of the Fall.

There You are.

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