Learning to See

eye glasses, old time photo, broken, vision, sight, blindness

Once again, it’s time to create an image just for the health of my soul… this time around, my thoughts were drawn to the idea of blindness and how to best represent it visually with an old pair of broken eye glasses.

The inspiration came from a group of friends who are reading through Simple Spirituality by Chris Heuertz.  The book itself is somewhat of a invitation to journey with Chris as he shares jewels of insight he’s learned from his relationships with suffering people all over the world.  Someday, I hope for the opportunity to thank Chris in person (I have yet to meet him, although he’s friends with several friends of mine and we’re friends on facebook).  His book is full of graceful yet un-sensationalized language that navigates through very complicated ideas and makes some profound distinctions – the likes of which I’ve been wrestling with for years.

In his introduction, Chris shares a story of how he nursed the wounds of a blind man at the Nirmal Hriday or “House of the Dying” in Calcutta with Mother Theresa.  At first, it appears he has nothing in common with this man (they don’t even speak the same language), but as he cleans the maggots from his sores, dries the mucus from his eye sockets and feeds him for a couple weeks, Chris concludes the man’s physical blindness was not much different from his own “spiritual blindness.”

Spiritual blindness could be thought of as the tendency to overlook or ignore how our own thoughts, feelings, and inward dispositions shape who we are as people – for better or worse.  In this acknowledgment comes the freedom to accept our own weaknesses and the weaknesses of others while still embracing the hope of someday learning to see.  Naturally, I can’t express the ideas as well as Chris has in his book, but it is thought provoking for me as a human being and my vocation as a visual artist…

I want to see.