Blind Spots

Driving one day and coming up to a yield sign intending to make a right turn, I stopped, looked for approaching vehicles from the left and saw none. So I began to make the turn only to hear the near sound of a horn blowing, causing me to slam on the brakes.

Sure enough, a minivan had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. It was a close call, and a collision was gratefully avoided. Even though I followed the “rules of the road” by obeying the yield sign, stopping and looking, I missed seeing that minivan. It was in my “blind spot.” I’m much more deliberate about stopping and looking at yield signs these days, probably to the dismay of drivers behind me who think I’m taking way too much time. But no matter how carefully we adjust our rear view mirrors, or stop and “look both ways” when driving, we all experience blind spots.

Life is like that too.

We encounter blind spots – events and reactions that we didn’t see coming. We cannot possibly anticipate or plan for all the twists and turns life brings to us but we can move through them, even learn from them and grow as a result.

Often we discover blind spots along the way in our quest to connect with the Sacred – places in our heart where we operate with spiritual blinders on. We have heard of the unconditional love of the Eternal Creator, but we may have come to think ourselves unworthy of that love. We may have been taught what it means to have faith but now view faith as being blind – a belief in something or someone that we don’t know for sure is “out there.” We may have been told there is ONE way to express our faith and yet our hearts move us into questioning, wondering, and yes, even doubt causing others to see us as faithless or less “spiritual.”

The story of the 'Man Born Blind' (John 9:1 - 41) is a discourse on spiritual blindness or stubbornness where many of the characters refuse to see or even entertain the possibility of “out-of-the-box” faith. The Box: strict adherence to the laws including no work, even compassionate, healing activity, on the Sabbath; physical blindness is caused by a person’s (or their parents') sin; no possibility of (in this case) the Pharisees being blind themselves; fear of being cast out rather than rejoicing in healing. When we step out of the box and allow ourselves to realize faith, or the Sacred One, cannot be neatly and safely contained in our little boxes of human making, we open ourselves up to possibilities. We see that although rules are sometimes necessary or their intention usually good, LOVE surpasses them all. We see that human illness, blindness, and other physical ailments that cause suffering are not caused by a sin we have committed (though sometimes they are the result of poor health choices), but by conditions of our humanity. We see that faith is not blind at all, but those who impose strict adherence on us or dismiss the uniqueness of each person's faith journey stifle the possibility of spiritual growth, the very faith they propose to 'enrich'.

Living our faith is a life-long journey of spiritual growth and discovery where we dare to allow all our questions and doubts to emerge. It is here, in the silence of our hearts, where we encounter our own spiritual blind spots and gain the courage to cry out to the Holy One “I want to see!” And healing is possible.

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