Most newborns come into the world topsy-turvy; literally downside-up. Although members of the medical staff are quick to upright all infants' orientation as soon as they're delivered, for the first few days of life babies probably see everything as being upside-down. Though we never think about it, this phenomenon of seeing reality inverted is true for everyone. Because of the curvature of our eyes, the images we see around us appear overturned on our retinas. Human eyes mimic cameras in this respect. Our brain is the organ that returns what we are seeing back to its upright position. While this happens unconsciously now, there was a time when our developing brains had to learn to do this for us.
Sight is a precious gift that paradoxically has some limitations and no limitations at the same time. Yes, our eyes can perceive shapes, detect movements, sort colors and sense distances. Using various combinations with just the tri-color receptor cones along our retinas-red, green and blue-we are able to appreciate over 1 million shades of colored waves along the visible spectrum. However, we cannot see infrared, ultraviolet, radio, gamma or x-ray waves! But when it comes to distance, there apparently is no limit to how far we can see as long as the object or source we're looking at can radiate light photons that reach us. The moon is more than 200,000 miles away, and the closest stars are over 24 trillion miles away. Yet, on a clear night, our sky is full of celestial bodies that we are blessed to be able to see no matter how many light years may separate us.
What are we hoping to see in this New Year? Will our vision be distorted, cloudy and upside-down with our neighbors and with God or more like the calendar itself, 20/20? Will we resolve to be kinder and more welcoming to all the people God sends into our lives or will we continue to be blind to some colors that may not register very well along our spectrum? Will God be as close to us this year as the light from the Easter Candle was which bathed our eyes at our baptism, or will God continue to be as distant as some undiscovered, darkened galaxy; invisible, ignored and deliberately kept out of reach?
For Holy Homework: For the next 30 days, let's hang a picture upside-down over the kitchen table. And each morning when we look at it, let's ask ourselves if our vision for that date in 2020 is also 20/20 in sync with God's eyes?
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