Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Being Born Blind

I think I've mentioned before how I like to memorize.  In second grade, I memorized the Gettysburg address, just for the fun of it.  My best friend in late elementary school was the same way, so we memorized together.  We memorized the Greek alphabet (although we didn't know how to pronounce the letters and now they're forever stuck in my brain with the wrong pronunciation).  We memorized the bones of the body (my friend is a doctor now -- at least she's using that information).

We learned the alphabet in sign language, just in case we went deaf.  (Sign language appeals to me greatly -- it's a blend of language and dance, two of my passions.)  We also learned braille, just in case we went blind.  Braille didn't come to me so easily.

The idea of going blind used to terrify me.  The quiet things that could be going on around me that I wouldn't know about . . . objects sitting in my path for me to fall over . . . people in the room I'm not aware of . . . facial expressions being exchanged that I'm not privy to . . . it makes me tense just to think about it.  I'd much rather be deaf than blind.

I consider sometimes how bizarre it would be to have been born blind.  To have no concept of what vision is, of what it means to see.  People around you would talk about this other way of "knowing", this other way of perceiving things that would seem just magical to you.  They would talk about an object having "color" -- how could this not seem like a ridiculous made-up notion, this idea of "color"?  This shirt is blue and this one is red.  So what?  What difference does that make?  What possible good is "color"? 

And blind people have to be so dependent on the seeing for so many things.  How do you learn to have that kind of faith?  I guess if you're born blind, you learn it from birth, so it's just natural to you, but really -- that's a lot of faith you're putting in strangers who claim an alternate form of perception that sounds totally imaginary to you.  I mean, sometimes you would have to put your very life in their hands.  You have to trust them that, yes, you can cross the road now because "the light is green".  Green.  Of course.  That elusive "greenness" makes the crosswalk empty. 

In a way, it's kind of like learning to trust God.

We're looking at houses again.  And with our limited five senses, there's only so much we see about them.  But God "sees" so much more.  He is not limited by time or space.  He sees the erosion in the foundation that will cause problems years down the line (and decides if those are problems he can use in our lives beneficially).  He sees the neighbors and how they will or won't interact with us (and knows how he can use that to grow us, either way).  He sees us walking in that house in that moment . . . and us sleeping in that house this fall . . . and us eating in that house in next summer . . . and us entertaining in house for Super Bowl 2015 . . . and he sees it all in one glance.

"Sees" it.  That magical "vision" that we can't even comprehend -- we just have to learn to trust.  After all, one of the Biblical names for God is El Roi:  God Who Sees.

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