Thanksgiving for many blessings from God - especially faith and in-sights!
As we all find ways to give thanksgiving for the many blessings that we have, I can't help but focus on the gift of faith and insight. All too often, I have taken so much for granted – particularly related to the five senses that we have, but what about the 6th sense? How many times have I not recognized that I may have actually “entertained angels” when simply living day by day - as noted in Hebrews 13:2 and per a neat tune with that name per the News Boys?
Recently, while scientists have also plunged into this quest for a better grasp of this unseen realm per hypothesis like string theories, parallel universes, dark matter and the like, many of us have accepted and are grateful for the many mysteries that still belie our understanding. And since I'm so “hard headed” like apparently was the case for St. Paul, God usually has to "Big Bang" me to get get my head, heart and free will into the right orbits.
I know that being a “doubting Thomas” is part and parcel with the human condition, but I wonder why I have the tendency to rely so much especially on the sense of vision for engaging reality? Haven't I learned by now how deceptive things can appear for me to put so much of a value on that? I always treasure Plato's allegory of the cave about what the men thought they had seen in the shadows of the cave.
Last year, JP, our 14 y/o son, got to read The Miracle Worker in his 8th Grade class, which brought back to me many other evident truths as to not only what I need to be thankful for but, more importantly, what to really value in life – true insights into human meaning and endurance from both Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. How could they both have looked so well beyond the apparent boundaries to truly seeing?
I'm sure that most of us have, at one time or another, posed the question as to what sense would be worse for us not to possess – the ability to hear or to see? In my younger years, I would always vote for the latter but as I have matured, both personally and professionally, I have veered to the former. I had a personal experience related to this during my graduate studies when I was a “live-in” and security person for Lucille, a frail but feisty 83-year-old widow in San Diego.
I was also good friends with her 88-year-old “boyfriend” Herman, a retired truck driver/farm hand from the Midwest, who came every Tuesday and Saturday to play cards with Lucille water the lawn for her. But despite the “good life” of independence and Social Security they enjoyed, they still felt lonely and misunderstood. I saw this especially in Herman who wore a hearing aid. People often mistook him for being “senile” because he didn’t hear well or they would yell at him to be understood. He related to me how being deaf was more socially isolating than if he were blind!
There were so many insightful episodes that I loved from the Kung Fu series back in the 70s, but none better than the exchanges between Kwai Chang Caine and the blind Zen Master Po.
Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?
Locally, I had some very penetrating spiritual experiences recently that I will never forget: going to Masses at the Diocesan St. Joseph Chapel being presided by Fr. Pat Mascarella, who happens to be legally blind. During his homilies, Fr. Pat shared some very keen insights that I had never considered as to how to apply what the Holy Scriptures had conveyed – especially about the overall topic of “spiritual blindness.”
At Mass, it was so special to witness the humble and loving relationship between Fr. Pat and his sight dog, who accompanied him all through the Liturgies of the Word and the Eucharist. When I received the “Word Made Flesh” on my tongue per the Holy Eucharist from Fr. Pat's hands - with his sight dog right at his side, what a special Communion had taken place! How interesting it is if we reverse the lettering to the word for Fr. Pat's guide - to form GOD! He can use all things, even pets for His Purposes!
So this Thanksgiving, I strive to make extra efforts at giving thanks for the Vision that our Creator has given us for life in the here and now and the hereafter. While I may not always perceive the message correctly per sight or mind– even with my glasses on, I'll join Johnny Nash in singing:
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny (Thanksgiving) day!
"The Eyes of Your Heart"
Keith Horcasitas, LCSW, MHA, 1133 Knollhaven Drive, BRLA 70810, khorcasitas.yahoo.com, November 14, 2011.