Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to See

I want to see. Really see. I don't want to merely look, but to see with eyes that take in the truth and a heart that understands.

As a little girl, I would watch the hour-long TV specials put on by World Vision and weep. My insides torn apart and spilled out at the very thought of children starving to death. Now, I change the channel. I hide from the truth of this broken world.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?...I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me."

It is not poverty or sorrow or pain or truth that I hide from. It is the very Spirit of God. I hide not because I do not want to see, but because I don't want to be seen. For I am destitute and starving, greedy for more. More money, more food, more clothes, more entertainment, more things. But if I am seen, those icky inner parts that I want to hide in the dark will be exposed.

O LORD, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely O LORD.

I am seen. I am known. I am exposed. I was all along, but am just now realizing it. The inner darkness cannot be hidden. There is nowhere to hide that He is not there.

If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.

In this moment, as my impoverished state is exposed raw, I remember. Like scenes from a movie reel, one by one, the memories scroll. Beautiful, broken people, truly starving. Literally hungry every moment of every day. A scraggly man sporting foul body odour on the boulevard with a cardboard sign. A dark-skinned girl with a round belly - not full, but bloated with starvation and parasites. Three-thousand images brought home from Haiti almost one year ago.

And I feel it again. The true, raw pain that sears the heart with the seeing. And I know this is why I've been hiding. I can hardly bear it, this eyes and heart wide-open feeling. Yet now that it's back, I can't understand how I ever lived without it.

I need to be seen. Really seen. We need to be seen. Because until we are torn and exposed ourselves, our eyes are blinded to the pain around us. We change the channel to avoid it, because we cannot understand. It is in being seen that we learn to see. To really see, with eyes, mind, heart, and spirit.

When we finally see - really see - only then can we be used as agents of Life, Bread, and Living Water.

All the days ordained for [every impoverished soul] were written in Your book before one of them came to be...You hem [us] in - behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon [us].

holy experience

* all photos courtesy of CrossRoads' Haiti team, 2009
* Scripture from Psalm 139

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