Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lent: See

There's so much I see from the table where I am seated at the computer: a glass of water, an empty cereal bowl, three apples and two oranges. Beyond that are the case for my glasses, a box of taco shells that no one put away last night, and the rest of the clutter that swarms over any surface left uncovered for more than 15 seconds.

Things accumulate with ease on the table because sometimes it's easier not to see than it is to see. Seeing the mess would prompt action to remove the clutter and clean the table. That's too much work; it's too unpleasant. It's much easier to pretend it's not there, at least until it's dinnertime and it's all staring me in the face.

Through the window I see snow on the railing, snow in the yard, snow on my neighbors' cars, and snow on their houses. Then there are the houses themselves. There's a house that came from a Sears catalog; a brick house that looks like it may have been built in the 1950s; and other houses like mine, many of them over a hundred years old.

Some of these houses are inhabited by people I don't see, because it's easier not to see them. We live our lives separately from theirs, in a parallel city that never touches theirs because they go to college and do things we never did when we were that age, or because their jobs are somewhere else and the place where they belong is, too. And others I don't see because they don't come out anymore, whether because of snow, age or fear.

If we saw each other, we might discover our common humanity, the needs and the fears that we all have. We might become advocates for each other in the face of xenophobia or racial animus, or feel that fundamental need to belong to a community. We might see one another's needs and strive to meet them. We might start working on bringing things to be on earth as they are in heaven.

There's a lot to see, and a lot to do. I'm going to start with the kitchen table.

Copyright © 2017 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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