As I woke up this morning, in my addled state after a rotten night of sleep, I fumbled for my glasses and plugged in the room lamp, and realized that my glasses were on top of the book on the film adaptations of the Tudors  that I had unsuccessfully tried to finish reading last night. In my foggy state of thinking I realized that I had to get ready for work immediately, and also that it was perhaps not the best idea to read about hoydenish redheads and people being tortured in the Tower of London just before going to bed, given that I hardly need any reasons to have any worse sleep than is the normal portion allotted to me. What is done is done, though, and with a sign and a quick set of movements to grab my clothing and head off to shower and get ready for work, I began my day before driving to work in a dismal rain.
During the course of a busy morning I received a telephone call about a $50 credit at Men’s Warehouse that is soon to expire that reminded me it would be a good time to pick up a dress shirt with it, even if it means one more item that has to be packed up and moved fairly soon, since one does not want that sort of thing to go to waste. I also called about some of the places I have been looking to rent, seeking to schedule appointments. In pondering such matters, once I found out the address of one of the places I looked on Google Maps and saw the nearest library and grocery store, along with the restaurants nearby, and noted that the county jail and some government buildings were near the location as well. I filed that thought away for future reference and in my intense focus on my reports and personal business, I did not realize that the phones of my neighbors at work had not been working for some time. I had been blind to what they were doing, and consumed by my own business, something that made me feel a bit troubled.
Being a person of very dim eyes by nature, acquired through a likely congenital weakness towards bad vision and many years of squinting at small handwriting and books under covers in the dark of night, lit by at most a flashlight, as was the case during my youngest years, I have long been interested in stories about blindness. One of the most famous stories like this, of course, is the man healed of blindness from birth by Jesus Christ told in John 9. This story is an extended one and it offers a great deal of shrewd insight in a very understated way, layers upon layers to understand and reflect upon. The story begins with the sort of object lesson that one would find by reading Job, as Jesus’ disciples argue over whether the man had been born blind because of his own sins (in the womb?!) or the sins of his parents, and Jesus answered that neither was the case, but that the man’s blindness was an occasion for Jesus to show his power over infirmities. As the repercussions of this healing continue on, we find out a great deal about the blind man being a man of worthy faith, we see the fears of his parents for being disfellowshipped because of Jesus’ miracles, rather than rejoicing in the healing of their son, all because the leaders of the synagogues in Jerusalem had blinded themselves and refused to see Jesus for who He is and what He is about.
As is true with many stories in life, the sting is in the tail. After disfellowshipping the now-healed blind man for defending Jesus Christ’s healing as evidence of his righteousness, with the correct implication that His ability to heal demonstrated His righteousness in the eyes of God, the leaders of the Jews sneer at Jesus rhetorically asking, “Are we blind also?” The reply is devastating and blunt, “If you were blind, you would have no sin, but you say you see, therefore your sin remains .” By this, we see that there is no sin in recognizing one’s own blindness. It is perhaps humbling to recognize that one is blind, but we live in a world full of blindness on all levels. Recognition of blindness is the first step to seeing, since it prompts us to act in ways that restore our vision, whether such acts are fumbling around for our glasses, or whether it is reaching our hands to heaven in prayer to the One who is our healer and comforter. So long as we maintain a pretense that our vision is perfectly fine when it is not, we remain in our blindness and in our sin. It is our confession of where we are at, in all of its honesty, that allows us to move beyond that to a better place.
Let us not think that our blindness can be hidden from others. Despite possessing some vanity, the astigmatism in both of my eyes has made wearing contacts painful and unpleasant as I have had to pick out the pieces of contacts from my weary and wounded eyes , which leaves me to wear glasses, even at the cost of some aspect of my physical appearance. My physical blindness is therefore readily apparent to others, even more so if they peer through my glasses to see how strong my lenses are, or who have witnessed my attempts to blindly flail about in a swimming pool. Likewise, my general absence of mind because I am so frequently lost inside my mind, which is a pretty terrifying place to be lost, I must admit, is similarly obvious to others. At times people may confuse what is going on and may ascribe evil motives to my frequent state of abstraction, but it is certainly easily noted even where it is not understood. And what is true for my blindness is certainly true for others. We cannot hope to successfully hide our blindness from the eyes that so frequently peer at us and seek to understand what we are about. All we can do is freely confess what we are about, and hope that we have justly acquired such a reputation for honesty and candor that others appreciate the help we give them as we stumble about this world looking to see, to understand, and to enjoy what is around us, what we too easily miss as we blindly travel this way and that.
 See, for example:
 See, for example:
 See, for example: