There is a saying in India, “When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are the pockets.” Our motives shape what we see – and don’t see – around us.
Consider the fabled story of the man from Colorado who moved to Texas and built a house with a large picture window from which he could view hundreds of miles of rangeland. “The only problem is,” he said, “there’s nothing to see.” About the same time, a Texan moved to Colorado and built a house with a large picture window overlooking the Rockies. “The only problem is I can’t see anything,” he said. “The mountains are in the way.”
People can be blind to what others see clearly. We’re all prone to this problem. We all share a tendency toward denial, an emotionally comfortable strategy that protects us from the distress that recognizing the harsh truth would bring. So we resort to filtering out information, rationalizing mistakes, avoiding responsibility.
Many of us will do just about anything to steer clear of the truth if it might hurt. To make the matter of getting to the truth worse, we have to see that people around us tend to collude with our denial. That’s especially true of our spouse. At an almost unconscious level, we can work our relationship to make sure they avoid honest, constructive feedback, acting as though everything is fine when in fact it is not. If we are not intentional about staying clear of this tendency, we buy the illusion of harmony at the cost of the truth. And we miss the path that could take us to emotional maturity and spiritual health.
So what illusion might be standing in the pathway to your well-being? Or to look at it from another angle, what is God trying to show you? How is he revealing himself to you? What are you not seeing? Of course, you can’t answer that question now. It’s an answer that comes only in contemplation and time – as long as we are looking for it.