Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On Looking and Seeing

I am fascinated by watching my brother, Isaac, drive. His style is quite different than my own. When I drive, I look at blacktop and road paint and I think. When Isaac drives he looks at what surrounds the road and he makes detailed observations. "You've got to stay with it and watch what is going on around you," he likes to say. When Isaac drives, his head turns from left to right and right to left several times within ten seconds.

While I'll admit to feeling safer when I am in the driver's seat, I have come to appreciate Isaac's bobbing head because he is always so keen and has an uncanny ability to make his observations entirely helpful. For instance, tonight at dinner when we were hypothetically discussing pre-manufactured barn designs, he was astonished that none of the rest of us had realized that the exact model of what we were discussing had already been built on a road that we all commonly travel. I know the road, I have memorized all of the bends and the turns and the potholes in the road, and I can confidently report that the road has no paint on it, but I cannot begin to imagine the barn.

As I have been more cognizant in recent weeks of my insular proclivities, I have realized that there is a difference between looking and seeing. I am certain that I have the most beautiful commute to work of anyone in the entire country - I drive through hill country that has produced the most elegant and stately evergreens and hardwoods that capture each season's full array in more detail than the eye can imagine. But, sadly, some days I realize that even though I looked at a landscape that would convince an atheist to believe in God, I didn't actually see it. That is akin to a tragedy.

How much of the veiled world unfolds as I begin to intentionally see! Not only do the hues of beauty and splendor pour forth from the earth and inspire mirth in the soul, but the contrasting tones, of what sometimes appears to be a dilapidated mess, surface as well.

But, no matter how uncomely the view, I am finding that seeing the world is the first step of beginning life's mission to give myself away in love. When all I see is my life and I am limited to only looking at the world around me, I am blinded to love. For grace to have eyes that see, so that my heart can love!