The Courage to See Beyond Seeing


I was at work, getting ready to drive the short distance from one property to another, in which I was to spend the night. As I sat in the car and turned on the ignition, I saw the bright light which the headlights projected onto the brick wall in front of me. Getting ready to back onto the main road, I hesitated. It was a short drive, so…why did I reach for the radio button? And why did I avert my eyes rather quickly when I saw the brightness of the light splashing over the old wall?

You see, I am old now. I might not be of age but I have run for far too long…this running aged my soul and wearied it down. I now consider myself old, too old for that. And so, having renounced running, I now sit still. I study. I explore. And I grieve over what I find, hoping to push through this grief with the help of grace, and finally get on the other side. I have, and I will.

The sensations, the feelings, the mysterious pangs of a sudden attack of worry, pain, sadness, or joy – all those seemingly random things, are now an object of my quiet observation. And although one can never have all the answers in this life, one can have the ones that truly matter, the ones that are truly needed. So I wait.

Why was a glimpse of the brick wall washed in brightness so disturbing and painful to behold that I had to search for music which to fill the dangerous vacuum? Why is the redness of the sunset so haunting, so beautiful, and so unspeakably sad? What do I see in the little in-between moments, in the small moments which come in between the ones we consider greater? The drive between two houses. The walk to my car, as I leave the building and I`m greeted by green grass, seagulls, and a dreamy, magnificent sky which wounds the soul more than it heals it. The idea of a little safe place, even when I`m surrounded by people, a place where I think I am unreachable by anyone, a place that, I believe, I am able to create even in harsh, brutal place, like a prison or a high mountain top? What do I see beyond seeing as I look at the world around me?

What is the thing that, since I was very young, drove my mind to search for anything, a book, a film, or if all else fails, a tune which to hum and hopefully chase away…what? I don`t know. But I am beginning to.

What are our favorite places telling us? What is my love for wildness telling me, for the ancient beasts, long gone, and the animals of our time and their glorious wild world, what is this love telling me? Why do I love laughter so much? Why does my heart so ache for good things to be…permanent, while the bad I simply wish would never happen? Why do I chase after the birds in my dream, hoping they will return to perch on the roof of my grandparents` house, and once they do, all will be well again? Why is it that I fear loss so much? If everything is the way it should be, shouldn`t I be better equipped to deal with all life throws at me? Instead, even in my best moments, I am aware of the partiality which is always at my heels. In my worst, I lose heart. And in the meantime, the unseen enemies are always lurking around me. You know them, they are your enemies too…

Fear. Depression. Anxiety. But why…?

Look at the sky after watching the news and seeing the world and its horrors – and you would agree with me that it simply makes no sense. The sky speaks a very, very different message to the one you`ve just been given. Which message is the true one? The scream of darkness or the whisper of hope? To answer that, I will ask you one question:

What is written in your heart? How do you read it?

Yes. What do you see beyond seeing, in the very day-to-day mundanity of life? And, as you search for that radio button in an attempt to escape that mundanity, stop and look at the very thing you`re trying to avoid seeing. As I look at the brick wall, I feel the pangs of homesickness. As I stare at the sky above my head, I feel the sorrows of an exile, and in that moment I know I am one, a prisoner stranded in a place which I love and hate at the same time. And each time when I see my wife in her dazzling beauty, laughing with girlish delight, each time when I watch my little daughter`s face light up with joy as I appear through the door, each time when I see the heartbreaking majesty of the sunset, I look out of the window and I think of a world without pain, shadow, or need.

‘Courage, dear heart’, said Aslan the Great Lion.

Yes. Courage.


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