Fourth Sunday of Lent
“They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see." John 9:13-15
I can remember distinct days in my life when my eyes were opened, when the clay had wiped away the film over my vision and I could see clearly.
An early morning walk down Clark St. in Chicago, the bustling stores opening, the truck unpacking its goods at the restaurant, the construction workers laughing and sharing stories together. My eyes were opened to the beauty and energy of life in the city that morning.
A red-eye plane flight with my husband, flying over the cities in the United States, pointing out the constellations, holding hands and smiling at each other in complete peace. My eyes saw the world and it was good.
An early morning walk to the doctor as I suffered from the flu in Bethlehem. I was the only one on the walk across Shepherd’s Field that morning as the sun was beaming over the Judean desert until an old woman wearing traditional Bedouin dress walking her donkey crossed by me. I smiled and said the traditional “Morning of goodness” to her in Arabic. The response: “Morning of light”. Even sporting a 102 fever, I was so present in that moment. That morning was truly full of goodness and light. And the face of that Bedouin woman will never escape my memory.
A sunset near my home in Pacific Beach. The beauty of the clouds lighting up in pinks and purples. The excited 3-year old dancing in her beautiful dress giggling as her parents chased her around in circles. Life is precious.
Perhaps you, too, can remember specific days when the clay had wiped the film away from your eyes and you could see… I mean, really see. Remind yourself of those moments because I believe they are not far from our grasp.
What does it take for us to enter into that place of mindfulness again? Must we need a reminder that life is good? Is mindfulness something we can choose? I believe so. (Do I think it helps if we get adequate amount of sleep? Definitely. J) I believe by spending time in the morning being present, focusing on our breathing, recognizing the gift of being alive and then consciously choosing to view the world with our new vision, we can change the course of our day. Every day can become a sacred day. Doing dishes, changing diapers, walking by our coworkers desk, reading a book, enjoying a glass of wine, going for a walk, picking up a prescription, eating dinner with a friend, driving to work… These actions can take on a new life depending on our vision. You interact with someone at work. You look into their eyes. You see the hurt. You imagine their story. You smile softly. You’re living mindfully.
While some may write off living mindfully as new age or hippie, the truth is that God has given us life and he wants us to live it abundantly. We spend much of our days with our eyes closed. What would it take for you to allow Jesus to open your eyes? What would it take for you to cherish each and every moment, even the painful ones? Who do you need to see with new eyes today?
During this season of Lent, may we return to God by seeing Him in those around us, in the sunsets, in the dishes, in the cooking, in the traffic, in the plane flights, in the Bedouin woman, in the child. May we move more slowly, speak more gently, love more compassionately, listen more intently, and see more clearly.