I’ve gone from writing one a day to one a month. Where does the inspiration go? I’ve realized during these last weeks of not writing I need to become more aware and see what and who is in the world around me. I have been so busy doing things; I haven’t made the effort to really see.
A couple of things have made me more aware of the importance of seeing. I was on a silent weekend retreat at the beginning of August. The retreat director stressed the importance of maintaining silence, even to the point of not making eye contact with others in the group. We all know much communication with others is non-verbal. Simply beholding another person—or thing—we accept them into our lives and they become a part of us. When we do not look at others, they do not exist for us; our reality is directed inward. In the case of the retreat, that was a good thing. I was able to focus on the interior life of the Holy Spirit in me. At the end of the retreat, when I could finally look at others, I was able to see their beauty because I looked at them from a place where I knew my true self. The exercise suggested by the retreat director held great meaning for me. Temporarily not beholding helped me to appreciate and value truly seeing others.
One of the most meaningful looks I have ever received was from my mother on the day she died. As we said our goodbyes, she gazed at me with such warmth and love; it communicated a lifetime of love and caring. I didn’t know then that I would never see her again, but I still remember the gift she gave me with a simple look. It gladdens my heart.
In my daily walk, I often refuse to look at others and I know that has hurt many. My refusal to look at them and acknowledge their existence makes it as though they do not exist. They’re not a part of my life. So many: the poor panhandlers at intersections, people I do not like, people who hurt me, people I envy, old people, handicapped people, unappealing people. If only I could look at them all with the same love my mother showed me. It could change their lives—and mine.