I Was Blind, but Now I See
February 28, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ll never forget the day I got my first pair of glasses. I was 8 years old.
Without glasses, I couldn’t even read the big E at the top of the eyechart.
When my mother and I walked out of the optometrist’s office that day, and I put on my glasses, I felt a little like Dorothy in the Land of Oz. It was a whole new world.
Mom . . . I can see the branches, the leaves on the trees!
Mom . . . I can read the signs!
I looked up at my mother. A tear was trickling down her cheek.
“Mom . . . you have wrinkles!”
That day I could finally see clearly, wrinkles and all.
But how well did I really see?
How well do you see? How well can you even pay attention?
Watch this short video, doing your best to follow the instructions:
When I watched the video—I didn’t know what it was testing—I diligently counted the number of passes. After the video, the answer flashed across the screen. Yep, I didn’t miss any. But then came the question, But did you see the gorilla? What? The video replayed. Sure enough, a person in a gorilla suit walks into the middle of the action, beats its chest and walks off screen. I couldn’t believe I missed it. I couldn’t believe anyone could miss it. Yet, 50% of people do.
We can become so mentally focused, that we can develop a kind of tunnel vision and miss important things.
It’s one thing to miss a gorilla, but what about all the people I was missing?
Sure, when I got glasses, I could see better physically, but as the years passed I became blind. The eyes of my heart became blind. Blinded by striving and ambition, blinded by self-centeredness, blinded to the suffering of others. I was so focused on my path, on that yellow brick road to the Emerald City of my own goals, that I didn’t really see the people around me.
I could walk right past friends, even stare right at them and not see them. Some thought I was “stuck up” because I didn’t notice them. Others would wave their hands to get my attention. It took a while to get out of my own head. It took my children to help me see “invisible people.”
The eyes of my heart started opening and I could see that other people are every bit as important as whatever goals I might have.
You are all with me on my yellow brick road. You were there all along. And now I can finally see you. I was blind, but now I see.
It’s a whole new world.
I see the sadness in the eyes of little girl who’s daddy is away at war. I see the brave face of a 50-something man, who’s looking for work for the first time in decades. I see the flash of pride in my teenage son’s almost imperceptible smile when I say, “I am proud of you.”
Who do you see? Or maybe, the better question is, who don’t you see?