I don’t know if you are aware…but there is a difference between city eyes and country eyes. Allow me to explain. At night, in the city, there is a lot of activity…cars moving, people walking, taxis weaving in and out of traffic…it’s just a busy place. When you look around there is light everywhere. Marquee lights flashing out the latest show. Towering skyscrapers with windows lit. Directional lighting on trees. Fountains with lights that change and move. Streetlights every few feet that keep the shadows back. Above the tallest buildings you can see the black night sky amidst all the sparkle and shine which draws people downtown, inviting them to come and experience the night life of the urban metropolis. Right outside the city are the suburbs, which also are filled with light. Mall parking lots, strip shopping centers, gyms, schools…are all illuminated night and day. Convenience to the city while avoiding the hustle and bustle is of utmost concern in the outlying areas. Even further out, small towns have businesses lit up, and fast food joints that shine late into the night. The churches are spotlighted, and gas stations glow. All of these create a halo of light, visible from a long way off in the distance.
However, in the country, there is very little light at night. No streetlights to speak of, very few cars on the roads, no fountains to light, or marquees…just dark, and I mean DARK. When you look around in the country at night it is hard to see anything because the dark is so complete. As you drive, you can make out a fence around a pasture and get a glimpse of shining animal eyes as your headlights pass by, but you can never tell exactly what kind of animals…cows? Horses? When you pass by the woods, there are more shining eyes, lower to the ground, and you wonder who is lurking on the edges. Raccoons, opossums, skunks? Occasionally a deer leaps across the road in front of you, and it is always a heart stopper because you never see them ahead of time. It is so dark, that a 200 lb. animal…or a herd of them…can be five feet from your car and you don’t even know it! In the country, when you see the sky it takes your breath away. The stars seem like you can reach out and touch them they are so close, and there are sooooo many of them! They are like millions of diamonds on black velvet. I thought I knew dark, until I got to the country, then I wondered if I had ever been in the complete dark in my life.
When we left the city-dweller life behind and moved to the country, I first realized that there is a significant difference between city eyes and country eyes. City eyes look up and see a black sky, because with all the lights around it appears black. Country eyes look up and see a sky filled with light, pulsing and alive. City eyes see lights all around them, while country eyes open wide and see nothing but dark. It took a while for my eyes to make the change. I fumbled around for a bit, running into things while walking into the garage. Jumping at every noise among the trees, imagining every snap of a twig to be a monster. Sometimes even holding my hand in front of my face to make sure I didn’t go blind. My eyes were accustomed to light, and so the dark was like an impairment…at first.
Then as my eyes made the move to the country, they learned there are differing shades of dark. They learned to depend more on the other senses to help. They learned that glowing eyes in the forest are the norm at night, and that sometimes leaves just rustle, and over time, they could actually begin to see in the dark. When they learned that, I found that I actually love night time in the country and lying on my back to stargaze. The lights twinkle and their winking at me speaks into the deep places. I like God’s marquee better than the ones in downtown. Now when I go to the city with my country eyes, I squint. I have nothing against city life, in fact I think I enjoy it more now, because I realize that even though I can only see a few stars, there are millions more up in the sky. It is like a secret…hidden away by all the light, but my country eyes know the truth and that is comforting to me. The stellar brilliance is shrouded from view, but deep still calls unto deep and my heart rests in what it KNOWS.
If this is the case with country eyes and city eyes might it also be true of natural eyes and spiritual eyes? Could it be that there are two differing ways to look at things? I believe it is so. Natural eyes see the current state of the world and they panic. They watch the news and they can see no hope. They look around them at joblessness, homelessness, poverty, and need. They see divisions, corruption, fear-mongering and greed. They see death, destruction, darkness and thieves. It is the natural way of things and it weighs the heart down. There are a few stars in this view, but the headlines try to steal away any beauty they could possibly emit.
Spiritual eyes see more…once they adjust. When they are diverted elsewhere the clamor of information dies down. They find that pulling away into darkness is a good thing. They open wide to take in the life that has been pulsing around them all along. When they can’t see all of it, they use other senses to help. In the dark they begin to see and hear the truth.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” “”DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
Once my spiritual eyes SEE, then the natural world around me isn’t so scary, because my eyes know the truth even when it isn’t visible. It is like a secret, hidden by all the uproar that bombards my senses daily, but that which my heart knows. Just as country eyes and city eyes see things differently, so it is true for natural and spiritual eyes. And once I know the difference, I learn that there are two ways to look at everything. The truth is no longer hidden from my burdened heart and this significantly lightens the load. Suddenly there is light in the darkness…that is pulsing and alive. Hope rises up despite the voices that daily try to crush it. To see in this way takes some distance and space. It takes some adjustment to go from having a visual impairment to seeing in the dark…but the heart knows, and the eyes will learn….just like city eyes.