“Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” Mark 10:49
Years ago one of the long-standing and respected members of Wayside Church told me he would rather go deaf than blind. But in a few years he went blind from what is called macular degeneration. And before he died at around 90 years, he also lost most of his hearing. And yet before Mr. Henry died he seemed to learn to “see again.” He could see amazingly well with his senses, the hearing left when amplified, the smells around him, with touch and the memory of his keen mind.
Last July my mother, age 91, suddenly suffered a stroke one afternoon while she was laying on her sofa. She suffered no paralysis but rather lost most of her sight although she has gained partial vision from her right eye. While I was visiting her last Wednesday I noticed she had adjusted quite well to the partial sight from one eye. I remarked to her about how well she was doing, able now to do some limited reading, punching in phone numbers and even doing a little work on her computer. When I finished congratulating her she quickly responded by saying, “Yes I know but remember at my age lightning strikes quickly!”
Perhaps the worst blindness that any of us could experience would be the ability to know peace, hope and love but be unable to see it. Bodies in themselves do not really see. Even though we can look out the windows of our eyes, the mind tells us what we see and how we will interpret it. Some point out that the only real sight we have is determined by the mind or our choices.
I believe our ego/body identification wants to keep us blind to the truth. In order to preserve itself the body/mind believes it must carry around anger, guilt and fear. It keeps us locked into this prison by its teaching and reminding us we are basically sinful, frail, bitter and doomed to oblivion. In order to preserve its identity, the body then can never accept the idea we are perfect, sinless, eternal and able to forgive with pure love within. For if the Ego/body could accept or believe the true Self was immortal, its importance would greatly decrease. It would wonder what its purpose on earth could be.
What if you look within and saw no sin, no disharmony but only eternal love? Your life could be radically changed. You would soon become defenseless, kind, patient, long-suffering, joyful, loving and meek! This is what the Bible means when it says, “The meek shall inherit the earth!” It means that nothing could really upset or bother you very long because your identity became more fixed on that which is eternal rather than that which is ephemeral and returns to dust.
The ego/body by its nature does not want peace and eternal joy. It thus creates a deep fear within our minds about looking within. It asks, “What if God or people really knew my faults and sins? What if God knew all my hidden secrets; that I cheated on my taxes once or twice, I’ve made sexual mistakes with my life and hurt others by my selfish actions?” How do I look inside and overcome the fear of admitting I was once drunk and killed an innocent person? Or that I was a soldier and shot one of my own comrades? Or I was a soldier and shot innocent civilians and raped women? Oh, such heavy sins! How can we ever weigh or face them? These must have been sins in which we violated Holy God.
Yes, we are so often like the blind Bartimaeus in the gospel story. His name simply means, “Son of the unclean, the wicked and the foul!” The name represents the guilt that we carry around so often in our hearts and souls. It’s the feeling we might have of laying along the roads of life begging for mercy and forgiveness. But then the foul, miserable one hears the Son of God within coming near and taking courage, cries out, “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner.” It is like saying I just can’t stand seeing and living like this anymore! I feel so miserable; I’ve been so defensive, unloving and mean.”
So Jesus the Voice, stops and asks; “What really do you want me to do for you?” Obviously the man like us is blind and miserable but to see again with a complete different perspective will drastically change his whole life. Can he be comfortable knowing he is a pure forgiven Son of God and not just a foul guilty sinner? It is a big price to pay to see. It is letting go of secrets and hiding and deceit and the deep attraction and security we have found in our sinfulness.
It reminds me of mules that years ago worked in Pennsylvania mines. Working underground for long hours with dim lights they would go blind if taken suddenly out into sunlight. And so a couple times during the day workers would take the mind mules outside to allow their eyes to readjust and focus to light. It’s an analogy of how we can become so accustomed to our unworthiness, our littleness, are guiltiness and miserableness that the light of happiness could be just too overwhelming! How can it possibly be that I am loved, forgiven and able to now show love, kindness, forgiveness and compassion to all others?!
Oh the little games we play to cover over our guilt and sense of unworthiness. All the little coverings of trinkets and outside adornments, all of our big accomplishments we use to make ourselves feel we are important and happy. But understanding you are a magnificent creation of God, free at last to be who you truly are, passes by all other things in life we have tried to use as substitutes.
A few days ago a relative of mine called me for an opinion on who to vote for in this year’s Presidential race. Her parents had called her and urged her to be sure to vote! She told me she never had voted and hardly knew who was running for office and in her opinion it was mostly a lot of expensive nonsense. Telling me she respected my opinions, she wanting me to respond with any suggestions. I was at first shocked that she had made no opinion and wasn’t aware of what each side stood for! Actually, I’m not too sure myself. On the other hand, I know her to be a growing spiritually aware person who is kind, forgiving, and gentle. So I gave her some ideas, trying to generalize each party’s positions, and gave her my recommendation. Yet I keep thinking that basically she seems right; it really is mostly a lot of expensive nonsense with each side shouting and saying nasty things about each other. It is what the Course in Miracles would probably call a “War against Ourselves.” Whomever she decides to vote for, if she does, is her opinion. But may we realize that in Spirit, no one loses but we are all winners on a journey of letting go hatred and meanness, and coming deeper into awareness of our Divine States as Sons and Daughters of the Eternal God.
May we rise up, throw off our cloaks of misery, and in prayer and kind works, follow the Divine Center down the roads of life.
“A simple silent prayer, a single word of praise,
is true from anywhere, is heard in any place.
The longings of my heart will always be enough,
My word will travel far, on wings of sacred love.
So right where I stand, I say Amen, say Amen,
Right where I am, I say Amen, say Amen, say Amen,”