Thursday, March 31, 2011

We think we see better than we do

Sight. It’s a funny thing. We so often think we see better than we do, a lesson reinforced in my life a few weeks ago when I put on glasses for the first time. I thought my eyes were fine. I was functioning in life. I could read. I was getting lots of headaches, but hey, that goes with being a dad and a pastor, doesn’t it? Apparently, it doesn’t always. Two weeks with glasses and no headaches. That’s been nice.

It’s also been nice to see people’s faces while I preach. Faces all the way in the back row. Technically, I knew that I couldn’t see people’s faces in the back of the church when I preached, but I just assumed, nobody could see that far, especially while doing something like preaching. People would ask me if I had noticed so-in-so in church. Usually, I hadn’t. I assumed it was because I was busy preaching. Apparently, it was because I just couldn’t see their face. Now, I can, and I’m thrilled.

I’ve heard stories like mine a hundred times from other people who went from blurred vision to focused sight just by putting on a pair of glasses. “The leaves on the trees . . . the mortar between the bricks . . . street signs – I never knew I wasn’t seeing them,” they’d say. I’d laugh and thank God that I wasn’t like those folks, thank him that unlike them I could see. Only I couldn’t see – not everything, at least.

I’d say most of the stories in the gospels are about people who not only have trouble seeing but are in denial about the quality of their own vision: A man who thinks his overflowing barns are a security against death; a rich young man who’s convinced that his wealth is a sign of God’s approval; a Pharisee who’s confident in his own righteousness and thankful that he wasn’t like that poor, rotten sinner praying next to him in Temple. Sight. It is a funny thing. We so often think we see better than we do.

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