Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Does It Hurt Your Head?

A friend of mine from church just got new glasses. She left hers in a restaurant a couple of states away. She was philosophical about it; she said that it was about time for a new prescription anyway.

I really like them; she said she does too, although it's taking a little getting used to. She says she had gotten used to things being a little fuzzy, and now her vision is so sharp it hurts her head, a little.

In thinking about my recent post about reading the Bible, I suspect that this sharper vision is one of the benefits and also one of the pitfalls. It's true, when we start hearing God's word, we start getting a much clearer picture of God's love for us: a picture of a Father running down the road with his arms outstretched, tears running down his cheeks; a picture of a woman, pouring a year's worth of perfume on a dying man; a picture of a mother hen protecting her young; a picture of a host throwing a lavish dinner party for people who can't ever pay him back; a picture of a woman combing her whole back yard at midnight looking for a penny.

But it's not all sweetness and light. It's not just God that shows up more clearly -- it's the human race. Our family tree is filled with cheats, rogues, tax collectors, liars, and ne'er-do-wells. Also, just your average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, well-meaning but imperfect people. Sometimes, when we're looking at ourselves, it much easier to stay with the old prescription, the one where we come off looking fuzzier, younger, a little more flattering.

I'm not talking self-abasement here; just an honest self-assessment. I remember reading and clipping a newspaper column by Ellen Goodman long ago. It was a Valentine's Day column, and the gist of it was that we should all look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, "You're no bargain." I think that we get the same sort of feeling when we start delving into the stories of the Scriptures.

It's enough to hurt our heads. Or make us grateful.

Or both.

13 comments:

mompriest said...

You are no bargain...but you are still my "beloved"...that's what I think God thinks about each and every one of us...and therefore what we ought to think of others....nice reflection....

Barbara B. said...

I do so love a good optometry-related post! ;)

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

I really like that thought - gratitude or a headache - it depends on what day it is....

Mrs. M said...

This is really great. Thanks, diane.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I supposed this is why the word of God is called a two-edged sword.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Jan said...

Thanks, Diane. Here is a thought I'm posting at RevGalPrayerPals tomorrow:

“The modern Orthodox theologian, Vladimir Lossky, spoke of a ‘margin of silence’ belonging to the words of Scripture, ‘which cannot be picked up by the ears of those outside.’ Only those who can discern this margin of silence are able to enter into the real meaning of the Scriptures. It is only in a spirit of prayer that we can become attuned to this silence.”

Louth, Andrew. Denys the Areopagite. New York: Continuum, 2001. 44.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

amen sister. been preachin' this to meself for days...

FranIAm said...

Or both... oh Diane, you are good.

steve said...

Ooh, I like this post. Particularly the importance of coming to see ourselves more clearly, and of coming to see God more clearly.

But if you'll pardon one more thought...perhaps we're also called to view our imperfections as God does, not with the kind of self-condemnation that so pervades Western society, but with compassion, loving-kindness, grace.

Peace to you.

Diane said...

yes, Steve, and perhaps if we can see our own imperfections that way, we can also learn to see others that way as well; with mercy and compassion.

Border Explorer said...

The Word--it hurts so good.

Kievas said...

Good ponts here...have to reflect some more on this.

Lindy said...

Yes. I guess it's that comfortable softness that should concern us.

Excellent post, Diane.