“I see things differently.”
“Try to see it from their point of view.”
“Let anyone with eyes, see.”
“Now we see through a glass darkly…”
The question of how we see things is an interesting one. Most of us tend to assume that most other people see things in a basically similar way to how we ourselves see them. A slight difference in perspective, sure. A slightly different angle. But essentially what we’re seeing is the same. Until, that is, we come across someone whose outlook is so fundamentally different from our own that it challenges – perhaps even changes – our assumptions.
I have an eye condition called Keratoconus. This affects the way I (literally) see things. For example, at night I see things a bit like this:
Until I was well into my 20s, I assumed that was how everyone saw things at night. After all, it was how I had always seen the world. When it was at last revealed (by a doctor friend) that not everyone sees the world how I do – indeed, I am in the minority in seeing things this way – I felt quite shaken. The way I saw (metaphorically) the world, my eyesight, and my self, shifted in some way. How, I wondered, had I gone so long without realising there were other ways of seeing the world?
What happens when we realise that our (metaphorical) way of seeing things is not the only one? When our perceptions are challenged? When we meet with and interact with viewpoints very different from our own? The way we respond to different ways of seeing the world matters. We can see other perspectives as a threat – something to be challenged, defended against or ignored. Or we can see them as a gift – something to help us explore more of what the world is like, who we are, and who God is. It all depends how we see things…..
This year for Advent Book Club we are reading “Unearthly Beauty” by Magdalen Smith. Join in on Facebook or Twitter using #AdventBookClub.