This past weekend I was blessed to have my sister and her family up to our home in Maine to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. It was such a wonderful time together with great weather, great food, great times just to hang and relax.
One morning we broke into groups, some of us jogging (😊), some dog walking, some just walking, and all met eventually at a beautiful lookout near our home. I was the last to arrive and there they all were in my view – a whole group of my loved ones, both the two legged and four legged varieties. As I approached I was struck with the surroundings which were beautiful as well – the blue sky, calm ocean, sail boat in the background, sandy beach with waves lapping the shore. I had to take a picture of course!
Everyone just happened to be facing me as I was below at the beach looking up at them on the ledge overlooking the ocean. As I shot the picture, I was also in awe of a creeping translucent, misty fog passing behind them making the scene mystical and magical. Since they were facing the beach, their backs were to the ocean so they didn’t see this fog arrival and how it intensified the beauty of the place even further.
As I approached I said, “Turn around, look behind you” so they could enjoy as well. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. In some cases a directive such as this can signal danger, although in this case, their not seeing the fog initially just kept them from seeing an additional feature of an already beautiful experience.
As I write this Shabbat encouragement from the deck of my home, a similar fog is creeping along the water, very fine, even though it is a sunny day. Again, rather mysterious, but not a danger. As I look farther toward the open ocean, however, the islands are obscured by the mist so it would not be the best day to be boating unless one had the proper navigation skills.
So often something can seem harmless, or even something we know, but it can surprise us in a way we have not anticipated. We know how to do laundry and the beauty of that new shirt, but didn’t know the colors weren’t fast if washed in warm rather than cold water. We love to eat grapes which are delicious but may not know they can be toxic to dogs. We know every part of the project we are to complete from the perspective of our skill set but have no idea we were supposed to know something else about the product or service that derails its success. We’ve planned our trip down to every detail but didn’t notice our car needed gas, the hours of the venue had changed, the exhibit had moved. We comment on an ethnicity’s traits as we see it, not actually knowing someone of that ethnicity in their true beauty, sometimes suffering from this blindness even when given opportunities to know those who may be different than ourselves, sometimes even when they are in the same room. . .
Life is a cavalcade of opportunities to expand our knowledge into the areas that we do not know. Sometimes our ignorance can be dangerous, as fog can be to a boater, or impede success regarding processes, problem solving, and people. Sometimes our blind spots thwart our best efforts. Sometimes, they can cause misinformation, even pain to others wrongfully misunderstood. Since blind spots are prevalent as part of the human condition, the combination of many peoples’ blind spots can make for a misunderstood and very unloving environment. All the more reason to stay in association with those offering diversity to our views. At a minimum, our ignorance keeps us from seeing all that our Abba has placed on this earth for us to partake in as we experience the glory of this created world.
This week I encourage you to expand your view – physically, spiritually, intellectually, analytically, emotionally – as you interact with your physical surroundings and with others. As you shine light into your blind spots, oh, the world you will see, oh, the love you will perpetuate, oh, the awe of Him you will feel.