Sitting at the computer, facing out the window, I suddenly startle. I realize there is a bluebird, with its strikingly vivid blue color, on the tree just outside the window. Only now have I seen what has been there for a while. I had been looking that way. How did I miss it? How could I see and not see?
While doing walking meditation a friend heard an owl. I love birds, and love hearing owls. I was doing the same walking meditation, but I didn’t hear the call. If I didn’t hear it, does that mean it didn’t happen?
Wild ginger is one of my favorite wildflowers. It has a nice green leaf that can be seen year-round along many of the paths I walk. It looks the same in the spring as in other seasons. I know now, though, that at a certain time in the spring there is more than meets the eye. Beginning in late March or early April, when I see wild ginger leaves I stop and scratch gently around in the dead leaves nearby, following the stem until it goes into the ground. With leaves the right age, and at the right time, my efforts are rewarded by finding its one-inch jug-like bloom. They’re usually not that beautiful, but for me finding the flower is a special treasure because it was hidden and I might have missed it.
How often is our faith, maybe especially our believing, limited by our not seeing or hearing or searching? It took me a long time to be aware of God’s presence and action in my own life because I wasn’t open to interpreting those experiences in that way. I was internally blocked from their gifts. Revelations, epiphanies, and theophanies are there in our lives, waiting for recognition and a response.
Listening to the yearning of one’s heart, beginning to wonder and to ask questions instead of staying with the assumed answers, trying new spiritual practices, or simply desiring to see may let you hear God’s voice or see the gift God is offering. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
What have you seen or heard?
What might you be missing? Especially related to faith, what would you have to let go or take on in order to see?
Take a walk or sit by a window looking out at natural beauty. Read a gospel story (in Matthew, Mark, or Luke) ready to ask it questions and let it question you.
For further reflection:
“He looked and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” (See Exodus 3: 1-6).
“Let anyone with ears to hear listen.” (See Mark 4: 1-9).