[A version of this reflection was first posted in 2016]
If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!Matthew 6:23
What sights have you taken in today?
Looking back to childhood,
I am struck
by how often we had our windows cleaned.
Every other week,
with ladder, bucket and cloth,
a window-cleaner appeared.
After a splash and squeaky wipe,
brought into sharper focus beauty and blight.
If the doors of perception were cleansedWilliam Blake
all would appear as it is, infinite.
With each passing moment
countless images flicker
before ever-hungry eyes.
Such a volume of visual stimulation
illuminates optic nerves
and fires frenzied neurons in our brains.
ideas, visions, sensations
course through our pulsing center.
Picture the graphic noise
the news of just one day:
moving messages and retinal flashes,
tinted by culture, colored by ideology,
perspective refracted through passion and pain.
What today have you seen or selected,
overlooked or filtered,
blindly blocked or deftly deflected?
No eye has yet seen, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived,1 Corinthians 2:9
what the Holy One has is store for those who love.
Whether clouded by confusion,
fogged by anger, steamed with passion,
smudged by cynicism,
or made dusty with distraction;
the opaque lens of the soul
requires regular wiping,
so we might cut through clutter to clarity,
and welcome what life presents
with the fresh bright eyes of a child.
We don’t see things as THEY are.Talmud
We see things as WE are.
If you are intent on neighbor-keeping,
with a head for justice and a tender heart,
it helps each day to cleanse the lens.
Nor dare we disregard darkness,
or close our lids to problem and pain,
but rather rinse insight in mercy’s rain.
When the world looks only grimy,
when hope and possibility are obscured,
that’s the time for window-wiping, to let in delight.
Clean the pains with wonder and lament,
for the tears of sorrow and laughter you share,
let in delight to dissipate despair.
Create in me a wiped-clean heart,Psalm 51:10
and place within a fresh and steady spirit.
No matter where your eyes come to rest,
may you look long and lovingly,
till delight breaks in and brightens.
SCRATCHINGS: Poems & More by Joe Grant