As many know, I had LASIK eye surgery a few weeks ago. My vision steadily improved, but not all at once. A few minutes after the surgery I could see blurrily across the room and a few minutes later I could see down the hall. By the time Carrie and I reached the parking lot I could see the car when she pointed that direction. After a few hours of sleeping I woke up to have most of my vision restored. It was amazing. It was a new world of sight without corrective lenses. Two weeks later, though, I continued to notice that when I awoke my eyes were blurry for a short while each morning.
My mother and I both have bad eyes. Each morning we have both, since childhood, woken up blind and feeling around for glasses. Over Christmas my mother asked me how my eyes were doing and I told her that they were still blurry in the mornings. She looked at me inquisitively and asked, “Do we know if that’s what regular eyes do?” My wife had a good laugh at my expense when I asked her the same question the next day.
That’s the thing about seeing, though. We’ve only ever really seen out of our own eyes. We only know the experience of the world as we see it and that makes it really difficult to imagine the world differently. We are stuck behind one set of eyes.
Just like individuals, a congregation can have trouble imagining a different way of seeing. That’s really what the next month is about. On January 7 we will try to see the needs of our community in new ways and we will open our eyes to the very real obstacles we face if we are to care for those needs. On January 28 we will learn about what other faith communities have done to overcome obstacles and become vital again and discuss what we might be willing to undertake to revitalize, our congregation.
It used to be that “seeing through another’s eyes” was just a colloquialism that was impossible to attain, but just as a surgeon helped me to see through new eyes, last month, our congregation will gather together to see more clearly. What a miraculous process that could be!