Thursday, July 30, 2015

The “EYES” Have It

     Maybe it’s because I have an eye appointment today that seeing popped into my head at the keyboard this morning. Maybe it’s because in the last few weeks, my perspective has become distorted on certain issues. Or maybe it’s the comment my stepmother made last night when she said, “She steps over curbs, walks perfectly down a street with no walker, no cane, and she is legally blind.” The woman she was describing is 98 years old and looks like a mature version of Elizabeth Taylor in her glory. Mary is legally blind and has been so for at least ten years. Now widowed, she lives alone in the “independent living” section of her senior living facility. This woman is unflappable. Her hair is always perfectly coiffed, her clothes look like she walked out of Neiman Marcus, and she is always gracious and generous to a fault. Women like her inspire, motivate and help me regain perspective. She isn’t sitting around feeling sorry for herself. She isn’t locked up in her apartment afraid to face the world; she’s seeing with her spirit and her determination. 

     Well, what does all this have to do with the eyes having it? It has to do with whose eyes we use to see what’s before us. Sometimes, my own eyes are closed, and I’m reacting with my gut instead of my brain. Sometimes, beauty is right in front of us, and we can’t see it. Sometimes our vision gets cloudy, and all we can see is what the television screen screams at us: danger, fear, loss, pride. 

     In the moment of anger, frustration, despair, sometimes our eyes fail us. Occasionally, when we are vulnerable, we are sucked into seeing things through a pair of eyes that see a distorted reality but pull us in because we aren’t seeing things clearly ourselves. Sometimes we have to open our eyes, but more than that, we have to see through the other person’s in order to make sense of our vision. It’s like walking in someone else’s shoes, but we need eyes to even put them on.

     On the news this morning, a grieving mother talks about losing her 15-year- old daughter over the week-end. She said that she had no idea how others had seen her daughter—how much she was loved and admired. How many parents think about how others see our children? We are too busy seeing their accomplishments or their imperfections to reflect on how others view them. How long has it been since you thought about how you saw your world as a teenager?

     Have you ever heard yourself say, “I see what you are saying?” I know I say that often. Many of us visualize as people speak. (This is not always good.) Frequently, my vision of the person’s statements gets in the way of what I am hearing, as I am not visualizing the speakers’ perspective, I am taking his words and putting them into my own vision. Maybe this is why arguments happen; we see through our own filters, not necessarily what the person is saying.

     The next time someone says, “Can you see the point?” or “Can’t you see what I’m trying to say?” maybe your filters are getting in the way. I know my filters are always present even making me blind to the reality before me. The eyes have it. Or do they?