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when we don’t know what we’re missing

when we don't know what we're missing
Blair and Connie

You just don’t know what you don’t know, ya know?  In my personal collection of days, I’ve been blind to what was going on around me, blind to the blindness, and blind to the blindness to the blindness.   I’ve gone for periods of time, never knowing or even believing that such dense deprivation was possible.  Because I was so fantastically intuitive – *snicker*.  Until another touched my arm, pointed a finger, or prayed me to full sight.  I love that about my people – that they never mind doing that for me.  

When we’re metaphorically blind, we miss out on so much.  It’s like misplaced glasses.  And you can’t find your glasses because you can’t find your glasses.

I snapped this pic of Blair and Connie connecting over images in a book in a room humming with post-dinner conversation. Although I couldn’t make out what they were saying, just from the expression and because I know Blair, I can hear her gasping.  Marveling.  Unblinded.  Connie, on top of being charmingly gentle, has a way of unmasking blindness.  Perhaps that book they were viewing captures a cityscape where Connie has traveled, a land where she’s lived.  A place unbeknownst to Blair.  Until it wasn’t.

Throughout the Bible we read that acts are happening in the spiritual realm all the time that are managed by powers beyond us.  Call it by a thousand names. Hebrews 11:1 says it’s by faith we understand invisible things like the truth God presses on our hearts – distinguishable from our own truths by its purity and persistence.

Don’t you want to see what you can’t yet, if it’s real and ready to be discovered, accessible for the asking?

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

The God of my experience, revealed in history, in scripture, and written on countless radiant faces, has been knocking on the door of my heart for decades.  I answered that knock a long time ago, but this week I was unnerved at the sound of his voice.  A voice that keeps getting rounder and fuller with every passing year.  A voice I manage to ignore casually with disturbing frequency.

Recently I got to attend a workshop that was such an unlikely opportunity (in Texas, of all places) that I was pinched to full attention.  I prayed the week before, “Please don’t let me be blind to the things you want to show me,” and with fresh truth like sweet quiet knowing, God spoke.  It’s not that I have not known his voice, it’s just that I think I usually don’t pray with the kind of instant expectation that would help me be ready to receive responses in real time.  Often I have prayed and then thought, “Surely he will answer,” – so on and so forth.  He will and he does.  I just don’t always wait for it.  I’ll take my Voice Of God “to-go”, thank you.  But not this time.  This time I refused to refuse him.

It turns out there are things he wants us to know.  Now that I can see (with the eyes of my heart open) that he is particularly interested in telling me some of those things as soon as I ask, I am less apt to rush my Amen.

Why would I do that – skip ahead to put a period where God invites a “…” ?  Let me count the reasons.

  1. It feels awkward to wait (Most Frequent Excuse).
  2. He is absolutely free to not speak to me right now and still be good and still be loving (and when I use this one I think I’m being noble).
  3. Because it’s not my theological tradition (gutless copout).
  4. There aren’t enough tissues (in Texas) to hear what he would say (I literally used this one last week).

It’s complicated.

But God untangles it, makes it plain, and really and truly welcomes these conversations – this is what I am finding.  This is the question I’m asking as a new practice with God, which I apparently had to be flown to Texas to learn.  Because he is so good to me that he gets my attention even when I’m blind to my blindness.  I hope you’ll try it yourself and come back to tell me what happens.

What is this, God? (Insert discomfort, bad feeling, anger, fear or unexpected outcome.)

What do you want me to know about it? (Insert listening in the present moment for his answer.)

Sometimes my answers are peace, comfort, or understanding, and sometimes they are words or scriptures that he brings to mind.  The main thing he seems to want me to know, no matter the subject, is that he is listening and close.  I’ve had God talk to me dramatically before and become weak in the knees, reduced to a puddle, and I’ve suddenly found myself barefoot on holy ground, but it isn’t always like that.  I welcome the variety.  And what I’m finding is that the dialog is ongoing when I stop hanging up before he’s finished.

So this is what pray without ceasing is like.  Bring it, God, bring it.

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