To have sight is a wonderful blessing. To see the faces of my husband, children and two granddaughters, the sun rising or setting with its myriad of colors in the sky, the ocean and the mountains, the temples, my very own ward building and the friends I love who attend there—what a treat to visually soak in the beauty. I am so grateful for being able to see! Even the messes left for me to clean up, the heart-rending pictures of tragedy or pain are a blessing to be able to see. They deepen tender feelings and allow me to gain more understanding of the world around me—and the people in it.
There is a different kind of sight. We know about it because of the teachings in the scriptures. This sight that comes more from the center of our being, and drives home the truth of all things, is a gift of the Spirit. It allows us to feel the reality of a thing for ourselves. It permits us to look past the temporal sense of ‘sight’ and weigh it within our heart. It blesses us with the ability and sensibility to accept the principles that are far higher and loftier than the things easily “seen” in the world around us.
I suppose it is a lifelong process to gain the better, higher sight that Jesus teaches us about. Some seem to obtain more of that clear vision earlier than do others. With this ability, the eyes are not so easily fooled and the heart can direct us in the paths of righteousness the Savior wants us to travel. We can use the eyes as the “jewel of the body” [Henry David Thoreau] to savor the good things in this life, while looking forward [pun intended] to even better things hereafter!
Pondering over this thought, I’ve realized anew a few things about my eyes, and the purpose of vision, in general:
- “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” [Helen Keller]
Many who have 20/20 sight do not have vision. Men and women of vision can let go of the telestial things in order to reach out for the hand that can lift us above the things of this world. Genuine vision is required for this exercise, and temporal eyesight is not required!
- “The heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of.” [Charles H. Perkhurst]
When a mommy looks at her brand new child, she sees the most beautiful of babies ever to grace the earth. No matter the infirmity, or the physical evidence that, to the eye, would cause alarm, the mother sees her perfect child. There are so many experiences in life that teach us about heart-seeing instead of eye-seeing. Heart- seeing is so much better!
- “ Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. ” [Andre Gide]
Courage is required to leave behind the seeming safety of things we take in with our eyes. To walk the walk of faith, it may be required to let go of the hand railing and step forward into the darkness. The vision of faith grants us enough light to take the next step!
- “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” [Aldous Huxley]
We are told in the scriptures [see Alma 34:38, for example] that we should “live in thanksgiving daily”, and most of us do so. Nevertheless, could we do better? I certainly could. Remembering one of our children offering prayers, and thanking Heavenly Father for every thing he could think of [we’re talking looooong prayers, here], we used to laugh about it even as it warmed our hearts for the sweetness of his childlike faith and gratitude. These days, I am more prone to try to emulate my son when I offer prayers. If I were to give thanks for everything I have, I’d be on my knees all day long. It is a good thing to remember to express gratitude for the very breaths we take, and make notice of the body parts that we might take for granted until they stop working so well!
I appreciate the smiles I see on faces. I love noting the blush that comes to cheeks, the sweetness that emanates from eyes, the rustling of branches, and the busy movement of insects in the flower beds. I love what my eyes do for me! I just need to make sure that I do not miss the deeper, better vision that comes from somewhere other than my physical eyes. And I want to clearly thank Father in Heaven, over and over again, for the blessings.
- “…But now I see.” John Newton penned the words to the hymn Amazing Grace , one of the most beautiful and touching songs I have ever known. The lyrics include these words, “’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.” The chorus goes like this, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
It is the Lord’s good grace that takes us, mortal and blinded and lost, and molds us with the gentle love and goodness that is built upon eternal principles and Godly love. His ways are sure. His sight is perfect. Although the world may close in around us and our sight be dim, His light keeps right on leading the way. Fears are replaced with a comfort that only comes with His truth. With that truth, our vision increases.
“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” [D&C 93:24]
What we see is real and eternal, filling us with understanding far beyond what our mortal eyes may capture!
Now that there are some issues that threaten to take away a great deal of my eyesight, the blessing of “seeing” is even more precious to me. It has caused me to reconsider the many references in the scriptures that refer to “seeing”, to being blind, to gaining sight, and to having a more clear vision. Although the eye is a wonderful organ, it can easily be fooled. Only through the clear sight that comes with the acceptance of the Holy Spirit can we see things as they should be seen.
Some succumb to the enticements of the world, and cannot “see” past what is offered in this telestial sphere. Although their eyes work just fine, they miss the things that lie beyond what is right in front of their temporal vision; thus missing the most important things to take in! Those things can only be seen with the heart, and with the aid of the Holy Ghost.
There are a lot of sweet prayers being offered up for me. I am humbled and so thankful. I am also more acutely aware of the tiniest of beauties that my eyes take in. At times when I have glanced at landscapes, I am wishing I had soaked in every detail. When I sit to read the scriptures, use the keyboard to write an article, or watch a television show, I am mindful of this gift of sight.
But there is something more important that is happening within me. I’m better understanding the words of wise men and women, like the quotes above. I am hopefully translating the teachings to a better, more acute phase of learning. A space where the heart speaks louder than it ever has, and the senses are more secondary to the internal things of the heart and spirit.
It’s a good exercise for me. It is showing me to be ever more grateful to my Father in Heaven for the goodness He offers me and my family. In very deed, even as the eyesight is dimming, perhaps I “was blind, but now I see” more than ever!