I am coming to understand how much of the world is unknown to me, not because of some great mystery, but because I refuse to acknowledge the reality right before my very eyes. Add to this how much of my world view is tempered not from lived experience in this world so much as my disappointment with how this world fails to live up to the extravagance or sterility of my inner landscape.
We humans, as a species, are facing a global challenge of how much we all live with more or less this same kind of blindness. And additionally it seems, we need to also grasp how much of the reality of who and what we are as individuals, communities and nations is equally invisible or denied by even those closest to us. We apparently cannot see each other or ourselves clearly. Varying degrees of denial universally blinds us all.
This hits me personally when I recall all those years when I was extremely ill and my friends and family members could not see it. And I wonder what part of me is invisible within my current community. And also what part of this reality is within my own blind spot.
When Thorn visited not too long ago, she remarked at how my home resembled that of a grandmother. I responded with, “Thorn look at me.” She shouted, “Nooooo,” and covered her ears. We both laughed, but how often is that denial unspoken.
My dear friend and colleague Eridanus has also come across this same kind of blindness. Whenever he dons a shawl for the cold or mentions how much pain he is in, certain people will shout at him, “But you are not old!”
But what does old mean? What does grandmother mean? How sick does a person have to be in order for those closest to them to acknowledge it?
It is all about fear -- fear of aging, fear of illness and fear of death. If I have to acknowledge your aging, your infirmities or your mortality, I will have to acknowledge my own.
This morning a small amount of snow on the sidewalk has me home bound. I cannot risk another fall this winter. So I postponed my mammogram appointment till March, and settled back with a second cup of tea. But inside, I am railing against it all. I feel like such a failure, such a coward and such a wuss. But I also remember how it felt to hit that ground, and all the fear, pain and terror it invoked within me. And so I will sit with this inner conflict. And I acknowledge both the inner urge and the outer reality.
It is all about coming back to gravity. And my accepting that the mystery before me at this very moment is the reality of my own blindness and denial.
It truly is a great big world out there. I plan to experience more of it with my eyes open wide. And I wonder what kind of world could we create together, if we all attempted the same.