I’m no stranger to weak and distorted vision.
Squinting, eye exams, countless pairs of not-so-stylish glasses, prescription sports goggles (albeit short-lived), contact lenses and changing prescriptions: these have been part of my daily life since I was six years old. To this day, I hesitate fully trusting my vision when it comes to reading a road sign in the distance or deciphering the specials of the day on a restaurant’s chalkboard. My vision has repeatedly proven itself unreliable in such circumstances.
While I’m eager to rely on a friend to read the small writing that I struggle to see, I rarely do the same with God when it comes to clarifying my own cloudy perspective of myself and the world. I have a troubling tendency to accept as truth my own distorted vision, even when it repeatedly has been proven inaccurate.
Moments of Clarity
Now, occasionally, no cloudiness exists, and I cannot help but see as God sees.
A sunset display of pinks and reds splattered across the sky.
A friend, wearied by the weight of shame, yearning for love.
A stranger performing a random act of kindness without knowing that anyone is watching.
The cacophony of diverse voices singing the Our Father at Mass as we reach across the aisle to hold hands as one community.
These moments of clarity are accompanied by a sense that something, or Someone, greater than me is present. When my first class of graduating high school seniors stood for their diplomas, I was overcome by their radiance, individually and collectively. Their frequent attempts to sidetrack me so as to waste class time, their forgotten homework assignments or their less-than-stellar behavior when a guest visited our classroom were imperceptible in light of such splendor on that graduation day. My eyes saw them as they truly were: as precious children of God, created for a purpose. There was no second-guessing my vision...only the deep peace and enduring joy that this was how God sees the world, and how I was created to see it, too.
Seeing as God Sees
Last spring, when my brother and sister-in-law surprised us with an ultrasound picture of my unborn nephew, I felt as if God’s eyes were my own. My heart exploded in love for that little life, then only having existed for seven weeks. The fact that he had no name, no impressive job title or degree and no list of “accomplishments” was completely irrelevant to my love for him. How beloved and awaited for was that little baby. How glorious was the plan God had for his life. How perfectly unique he was.
While putting on the eyes of God to view myself—with all my fears and failures and existential questions—often proves to be a herculean task, I experienced a moment of overwhelming clarity gazing at the ultrasound image of my nephew.
Beloved. Awaited for. Part of a glorious plan. Perfectly unique.
This is how God sees me. And you. Every single moment of our lives. In fact, it is the only way in which God can see us. Our shortcomings, lack of worldly “success” or doubts about our life’s “plan” cannot compete with the radiance that shines forth.
Let us rest in God’s gaze and pray that we conform our vision to his. I encourage you to pray, “God, give me Your eyes. To see as You see,” when you notice that you are seeing yourself, your daily to-do list, your curmudgeon neighbor or your evening work commitment with eyes that are not God’s. I’m right there with you, striving for true vision!