My colleague raised his glasses to the light and peering through the smears and spots of the blurred lenses he declared; “It’s hard to be optimistic when you wear a misty optic!”
The truth of Patrick’s words has stayed with me. When our vision is blurred we just don’t see fully, our eyes take in an image and our minds form an opinion.
Jesus’ words to Simon the Pharisee ask the same question ‘do you see this woman?’ (Luke 7:44)
Not, ‘Are you aware of her?’ but ‘Do you really see her? Do you see a full human being or is your vision blurred? Do you view her through a lens which is smeared and spotted?’
I became aware of how it can feel when people look at you and form an opinion the first time I stood on a busy train station wearing a dog collar. ‘Ask me’, I wanted to say; ‘Ask me why I am dressed this way, ask me to tell you my story, find out why I believe what I do. Please, don’t think you know me because of a piece of white plastic around my neck’.
Our failure to really see each other, to be like Simon the Pharisee and categorise each other as ‘sinners’, (Luke 7:39) has been highlighted in recent weeks by heart breaking news from all over the world. Writing this before the referendum result I pray optimistically that, in spite of a process which seemed determined to blur our vision, these stories have helped us look closer at our shared humanity, to see people not categories.
By Jo Wetherall, Children and Families Officer for the Diocese of Gloucester.