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On seeing what we'd rather not have to see


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , , , , ,

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Last night, or should I say, in the early hours of this morning as I went from groggy unsettled sleep to groggy unsettled sleep, I kept having the same dream.  

Now first of all, I don't put much stock in dreams.  Yes I know about Joseph in the Bible and I know that God is capable of speaking to us in our dreams and visions but I have seen this potential abused far too much by men and I admit it would take an awful lot to convince me that a dream is a word from God.  It is more likely to be an accumulation and interpretation of the thousands of images that have crossed in front of our eyes, during the day, both in real life and in what we glean from our technological world.  Some of these things we don't actually see but our brains acknowledge them and they get into our self-conscious without us even knowing.  

So my dreams last night were not from God but directly from my brain.  Still, it's my brain saying something to me.  And I've been listening.

You've all probably had that dream where someone or something is after you and you can't move?  You experience the panic and frustration of wanting to run but you can't move.  Your legs are glued to the spot.  And then you wake up in a cold "oh it was just a dream!" sweat.

Well last night or this morning, I dreamt that I could not see.  I could not open my eyes except for brief moments but when I did, I was blinded by glaring awful light that hurt my eyes and made them cry.  The dream went on for ages, in and out of days, all with that frustration and panic of not being able to see.  I would stumble around the house, go to the grocery store grasping at the aisles and whatever I could touch, ride my bike and drive my car--all blind. And afraid of what could be lurking right in front of me that might hurt me.

Think about it:  if someone were to put a blindfold over your eyes and make you take steps in a clear room, even knowing that there were no obstacles in front of you, your steps would still be tiny and awkward and your arms would be flailing in front of you because of what could be there.  The unknown is the most frightening thing we face.

So naturally I've thought a lot about seeing and blindness and the world we live in right now.  There is a lot we would rather not see. So much we'd rather not know.  The Nigerian school girls kidnapped by rebels, the bombing of the Malaysian plane, the massacres in Syria and Iraq, the racism and turmoil in Ferguson--all horrible stuff in our world that most of us, if we're honest, would rather not see.

And if we did see, if we did open our eyes, we would see plenty in our own cities and towns.  Poverty.  Domestic abuse.  Rape.  Drug and alcohol abuse.  Suicide.

Hey, if we're really honest, we'd have to admit we have our eyes shut to a lot of what we'd rather not see even in our own churches. Abuse. Exploitation.  Manipulation.  Judgment.  Gossip. Assumption.  Perversions of truth.  Lies and corruption.  

I read a lot of blogs by some amazing people who refuse to keep their eyes shut.  People like Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans and Jen Hatmaker.  All women who, no matter how much it hurts to see, they welcome the seeing and they use their voices to give us all the opportunity to see as well.  They make a stand for social injustice, for the abused, for the marginalised and they hope that others too will see what needs to be seen.  That others too might stand up and that one small seeing step at a time, we might make a difference.

I've seen a fair bit too.  I've seen things I'd rather not have seen and I've seen a lot of hurt and pain and fear.  This week, especially, I'd have liked to close my eyes and not see anything.  How tempting it would be to simply shut my eyes and run away.  But instead I've chosen to keep my eyes wide open, to stand up to what I fear.  Because as in my dream, although it hurt to open my eyes and see the glaring awfulness outside, it also hurt to be blind.  I was stumbling, fearful of what I could not see, afraid of what might happen.  At least with my eyes open, I am fully prepared.  

No matter how tempting it is to shut our eyes to the hurt and the awfulness, we can't.  We need to keep our eyes open and we need to acknowledge what we see, not just for the sake of others, but for our own sake as well.

And God knows this. He knows that for our own protection, we need to keep our eyes open and we need to see: "All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them." (John 16:1-4)

Jesus warned the disciples and us that we will face trouble and heartache. I believe that time is now. We need to accept it and be aware. We need to keep our eyes open and be ready to protect ourselves and to offer protection to others.

Most important, we need to stand in the assurance that we are not alone in facing what we fear because we have the Holy Spirit as our advocate, the spirit of Truth who will guide us in all things and speak for us.


The hope that I have in the Holy Spirit, the promises and assurances made to me by God in His word, help me to keep my eyes open. Wide open.  

I would never wish to be blind again.

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