Monday Memo: In Front of Our Nose

Terry Walton


In Front Of Our Nose

I was thinking...

Can we see what is in front of us? George Orwell is quoted to have said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose is a constant struggle.” (In Front of Your Nose, March 2017) As I read Orwell’s comment it caused me to pause and ask “What am I missing that is right in front of my nose?  One way of asking this question is “What are my blind spots?”

We all have blind spots. That is one of the biggest reasons we need each other.  We need each other to have courage to speak into our blind spots. Yes…it can hurt when someone points out a blind spot, but in the long run of maturing a healthy life, there eventually comes a deep appreciation for those courageous souls who pointed out our blind spots.

The challenge can be that “birds of a feather flock together." That is, we can easily fall into a trap of seeking others, who out of their need to be accepted and loved, would never call out our blind spots and thus we go forward blind that we are blind. The temptation can be that we only want to associate with those who will affirm everything about us. Perhaps they are aware of our blind spots but would never point them out to us for fear it would jeopardize the relationship. So, we flock together with folks just like us who subconsciously agree with us on most everything.

“To see what is in front of one’s nose is a constant struggle.” I once asked comedian Jeff Foxwothy “How do you do it?  How do you come up with your hilarious material?” His response surprised me. He said, “You look at what is right in front of you and then you walk around it until you find the funny that is in it.” Foxworthy would agree that not everything is funny but that there is a lot in life for which we can laugh if we will just look at what is in front of us. I often take myself and life too seriously, maybe you do too. Learning to laugh at myself and to laugh at life is a gift that brings much joy.

Whether it be a child telling me that I have bad breath or an adult exposing a more serious error that hurt them deeply, what is right in front of me is often hard to see, embarrassing to accept, and difficult to confront. But if I am willing to acknowledge my humanity and the struggle that comes along with it, then I am a richer person because the eyes of my life have been focused on seeing clearer. 

On the road to Damascus, the Pharisee Saul who was so certain of his faith view was knocked off his horse and blinded by a bright light. He heard a voice saying to him “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  He asked, “Who are you, Lord?”  The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” …Saul got up from the ground, he could see nothing; so, they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus” (Acts 9:1-9, NRSV)

It was Ananias who bravely risked his life and went to Saul, laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored.” (Acts 9:17-18) 

I thank God for all the Ananias’ who have bravely entered my life and pointed out what was right in front of my nose of which I was unaware. I invite them to keep visiting my life. As a matter of fact, I need them to visit my life. For without them, I am lost.

I need people who think and vote and see the world as I do. But perhaps I need more those who think and vote and see the world differently than I do. I need to listen and learn especially when I am so darn certain that I am right about the things of life. Maybe this is your need as well. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Always thinking...

The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop

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