Sleeve Notes 101: 01/08/2006 - 01/15/2006

Monday, January 09, 2006

Reflections on Sight

“How privileged you are to see what you have seen” – Luke 10:23

This weekend, I was blessed to be able to watch An Evening of Stars, Tribute to Stevie Wonder, a benefit put on by the United Negro College Fund. As I watched Fantasia, India Arie, Fred Hammond and other’s perform compilations of Stevie’s work and their own, I sat in awe of this amazing man who has used the eyes of God to paint some of the most amazingly vivid canvases known to man today.

During the show, a woman came on and told the story of her mother who, as a single woman, pursued her Master’s degree while raising seven children all of whom went to college. She valued education and she instilled in her children this belief that they too could be anything they wanted to be and that education was the way for it to happen. Each one of those seven children has gone on to great success, but throughout their lives they’ve always clung to an old saying their mother taught them about what to do when life threw them curves and left them knocked down, bruised and battered (sound familiar?).

If you can open your eyes
Then you can look up

If you can look up
Then you can get up

If you can get up
Then you can move on

We are told this in this life we will have trouble but that we should not be afraid because Christ has already over come the world. Too often, we get into messes in our lives and we throw our hands up, scream and cry and believe the world to be over…at least the little world we’ve managed to glue together (I particularly am fond of Elmer’s Glue). We refuse to listen to any encouraging word; rather we want to wallow in misery. Heck, even when Jesus Christ hung on the Cross, those who chronicled His life, record Him as asking His Father God why He had turned His back on Him. The KJV actually uses the word “forsaken” which seems to imply a sort of desperation.

There are so many people who life has dealt a crappy hand. Some people are born with physical challenges. Others just seem to constantly be standing under the drain spout of life…getting deluged and left wet and bedraggled. There have been times in my own life where I have wished that I could just die. Life as I knew it sucked. Why go on?

As I thought about my life and how crappy things got for me, I remembered the story of this kid that got a nice inheritance from his dad. As soon as his dad forked over his part of the money, he took the heck off! He was grown up…didn’t need dad…didn’t need anyone! He moved into a tight-ass apartment in the City and threw some killer parties. He had a ton of friends who helped him spend, spend, spend and party, party, party! However, as often happens when you are partying, you loose track of your money and so as he sat with his accountant he was hit with the awful fact that he had spent everything. He started selling off his things until finally he ended up with nothing but a nasty drug habit living on the streets, in the gutter basically, fighting the stray dogs that roamed the streets for scraps of food.

One morning, as he pulled himself together out of the shadows in that back alley, he had a moment of clarity, when he remembered that he had eyes. In his mind, he saw his dad’s place and he realized that even his dad’s workers lived better than he was living. He opened his eyes and looked up and there was his dad, holding out his hand. His dad, as recorded in the scriptures, saw him coming from a long way away and ran towards him. Then he threw him a party. Ok, I know that all of our messes don’t come to tidy little resolutions like this one, but, it’s important to remember to look up once in a while, especially when we are at the bottom.

There will be times in our lives, whether by choices we’ve made, or just because life plays cruel little tricks on us, where we will find ourselves at the bottom of the barrel. How we face these rough times, will determine how successful we will be. Do I stay down in the cold damp ditch, wrapped up in the fetal position, tightly closing my eyes…shielding me from the awful world around me or, do I remember that it is a privilege to see? Lately I keep coming back to the conclusion that when I use the eyes I’ve been given, whether my spirit eyes or my physical eyes, I will never be too lost because if I can see something, then I can reach it! Sometimes all it takes is remembering to open our eyes!