What Blindness Taught Me About Seeing and How You Can See Better Too

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People only see what they are prepared to see.

How do you see the world?

In this time of fear and darkness and suspicion, it can be easy to see the world as depressing and scary. You watch the news or read the headlines and brace yourself, preparing to see the worst, right? I get it… I do — it can be pretty dark out there, but can you still see beauty and goodness and hope too?

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You can if you are prepared to.  So, I ask again, how do you see the world?

I see the world more clearly since I’ve been blind. Or at least, I try to.

Not being able to physically see has opened my eyes to recognize how to really see — I mean that see beyond the sorrow and see hope within the tragedy.

I see the world more clearly since I’ve been blind. [Click to Tweet]
Let me pull out my iPhone to show you what I mean.

I know, I know… it’s quite a jump to go from Ralph Waldo Emerson to an iPhone app, but stick with me!!

The app is called “Color Identifier.” It uses the camera in the iPhone to capture my surroundings and then it announces the colors it sees. But, unlike the color detector I use to identify my clothing, it has a huge, descriptive and downright fun vocabulary. My color detector simply announces “black” or “blue” or “light yellow” when I press it against fabric. It’s so helpful when it comes to knowing the colors of my clothing but it serves merely as a reporter.

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The Color Identifier app, on the other hand, interprets what it sees like a bohemian artist or imaginative poet would! It uses names for colors like those creative people at Crayola do! For example, the sky isn’t simply “blue” it’s “Baltic Sea” on a bright day or “Gun Smoke” on a cloudy one. Lovely, right? According to the Color Identifier, my front yard is blanketed with tones of asparagus, avocado and Rangoon green! Can’t you just see that?!

My office is an inviting palate of amber, spice, mustard, bamboo, oregano, potters clay, sepia, nutmeg and creole! Isn’t that far more interesting and inspiring than “shades of brown?!”

Often all we ever see around us is bleak and dark because we’ve not looked deeper — we haven’t seen beyond and within our circumstances. We settle for “blue” when we’ve got Wedgwood, cobalt, Danube, cornflower or sapphire surrounding us, just waiting to catch our eyes and change our perspective.

What we choose to see colors our perspective. [Click to Tweet]
Now, I know this perspective shift is not as easy as double tapping an app on our phones! Sometimes life just looks gray. The outlook of our world and our situations can be the color of gloom when we take an honest view.

Oh girl, I know. I’ve had to do a double tap on my heart to get a deeper look lately as I’ve spent time with my sweet Daddy in ICU. He’s in a long term acute care hospital and I tell you, even without sight, I can see the gray, drab, cold, metallic surroundings. It feels so harsh and hopeless and ugly. My viewpoint was truly coloring my perspective of that place where my dad will heal and recover. I was feeling hopeless and irritated and ungrateful, so I’ve had to pull up the Color Identifier in my heart and focus. When I do, it turns all that gray, drab, cold ugliness into “Chicago Skies, “Silver Tea Pot,” Morning Mist” and “Evening Fog.”

In other less colorful words, my heart can see hope. My eyes become grateful and I see the grace that surrounds him. When I take a deeper view, I see God’s mercy in the care he receives, God’s provision through the metal contraptions that beep and buzz and God’s beauty in every caregiver who helps him.

When our eyes are grateful, we see grace. [Click to Tweet]
Life can look ugly or beautiful. Our world can appear like dark clouds will swallow it or like the morning sun is just about to break through. We can perceive the world as out-of-control or under God’s control. We can look at our lives –at our circumstances — as draining, depressing and desperate or we can look a little deeper and see mercy, provision and hope.

Every minute of every day can be sepia tones or it can be a rainbow of possibility.

Girl, we certainly can’t change everything in the world, but we sure can change the way we choose to see the world. And that can change everything for us.

Changing our perspective can change everything. [Click to Tweet]
The world around us is far more colorful than we often perceive. In fact, I believe there’s a “Color Identifier” in all of us and she can be stifled by an unwillingness to really see. Try a little harder to see a little more clearly next time you look out your window or at the news or at your bleak circumstances. Choose to see the true colors of hope and joy and peace that are the consistent undertones no matter what it all looks like on the surface. Sister, that’s what I’m trying to do!

Lord, open the eyes of our hearts so we can see hope. Make our eyes grateful for what we have so we can see the grace and beauty of Your provision. When we start to see only the dark and despair, tap us on our hearts and help us focus on the good.  Thank You Lord.  Amen.