How You See the World
In his book, ReallivePreacher.com, writer Gordon Atkinson writes about his six year old daughter who has strabismus, which he writes is the doctor’s word for “crossed eyes.” He explains in the essay, Bifocals, that she started wearing glasses, bifocals, and had gone through several operations in attempts to correct her vision. He writes about how much he loves her and how her difference becomes part of his love. “I wish she didn’t have a problem with her eyes,” he says, “but her glasses and all the mannerisms that go with them are a precious part of her. It’s a paradox, no doubt about it.”
He goes on to explain that one day she came home with what she knew to be good news.
“’We’re having a school holiday for the King who said everyone should get the same.’ We didn’t know what she was talking about. My oldest daughter finally figured it out. ‘She means Martin Luther King Day.’
‘That’s right,’ she said. ‘The king who said everyone should get the same.’
How simply she looks at the world through her tiny lenses, tilting her head to find focus. I will not tell her that we don’t live in the King’s world, that everyone will not get the same. She will learn this for herself and in her own time. One day she may find that little cross-eyed girls don’t ‘get the same,’ and that will be her grief to bear. She is like her father, is she not? Or am I like her? Cleaning my lenses with my own breath and cloth, tilting my head this way and that, wanting to find focus, hoping to see the good. We are also alike in that we are very small people in this world. Very small people.
I feel the impulse behind the Hail Mary, spoken by those who do not feel able to pray for themselves. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners. Pray for us sinners.”
My hope has always been found in the children. It’s in their innocence, their faith in what they are told whether they understand it or not, their genuine kindness with no strings attached, the fine and easy way they see the world. Sometimes when I am troubled, when I see only the greed and deceit, the grandstanding and the hatred, I must find my way to the laughter of children, to some video or playground just to hear that perfect pitch of goodness, that unspoiled way they see everything and everyone.
We honor Dr. King this week and we remember that even though we may be no closer to his dream than he was on the day he spoke it, we never give up on the children. They are the only ones who truly see.
You are the light of the world!