On Second Thought: Close your eyes to see

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 16, 2023

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By Marie Harrison

For the Clemmons Courier

Every family has “that” drawer in the kitchen, or at least I hope they do.

No, I’m not talking about the junk drawer full of odds and ends that need a place other than the kitchen counter: batteries, tape, random keys, etc.

I’m talking about the utensil drawer. The one full of large ladles and serving spoons and spatulas. The drawer where everything must be turned the correct way and positioned in just the right spot in order for the drawer to close and successfully open once again. My kitchen certainly has that drawer, and imagine my surprise when I went to open said drawer last week, and it was stuck.

I pulled on the drawer quickly, needing to grab a spoon to stir the chili on the stove, and the drawer opened, but only a few inches. Interesting. I did what any reasonable person would do in this situation; I shut the drawer and pulled on it again. Surely, it would open this time, right? Nope. Still stuck. From the sounds coming deep within the drawer, there was something slightly lifted, a handle of some sort, that kept ramming into the top of the opening and was preventing the drawer from opening and me from getting the spoon I needed.

Since the open and shut and try it again method didn’t work, I was left with no choice. I was going to have to reach my hand into the drawer and try to dislodge the stuck utensil on my own. But this was no small feat. This was truly an act of bravery because I forgot to mention that inside this drawer, there were also several pairs of large kitchen scissors, just waiting to pierce my unsuspecting hand.

As I slowly reached into the dark drawer, through the opening only just big enough for my hand to slide through, I tried my best to look and find the culprit, but to no avail. The drawer was too dark, and I wasn’t going to be able to see anything. In fact, my eyes were getting in the way. I found myself closing my eyes to help me “see.”

With closed eyes, my vision became clearer. I could feel around, slowly, inside the drawer and identify each of the objects I was touching. With my eyes closed, I could navigate the drawer better. And finally, my hands latched on the end of a pair of kitchen shears that had flipped on their side and were blocking the drawer. With eyes still closed, I manipulated the scissors down flat and magically, my “stuck” drawer wasn’t stuck anymore.

What a funny thing, though. To see better, I needed to close my eyes. My hands still worked with my eyes open, but not as well. With my eyes unable to see anything in the drawer, they were actually more of a distraction than a help. My hands needed to do their job, but they couldn’t, with my eyes darting every which way. In the darkness, my brain was able to focus on the only sense that mattered: touch. And through touch, my hands were able to do the job they needed to do. As I thought about this, I realized this is a lesson we all could take to heart. Maybe we all need to shut our eyes a little more.

So often, our brains work in overdrive. We look around the world and see so much that it distracts us from the things God has called us to do. Dirty dishes that need to be cleaned, yards that need to be mowed, emails that need to be answered, but what if we turned off all the distractions in our lives? What if we “closed our eyes,” so to speak, and just let God guide us? What could we do if we just let God lead and truly were His hands and feet? Going and serving wherever the Spirit leads without distraction?

Our vision is a tricky thing. Yes, we need our eyes to see, but how often do we get led astray because of distractions put in our path? Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We (Christians) walk by faith, not by sight.” I think being a follower of Jesus means we learn to close our eyes, to rely less on sight and more on the leading of the Spirit, following in faith. Learning to block out distractions and shut our eyes to the things that don’t matter is hard, but when we do, when we are finally able to close our eyes to the world and listen to the Spirit instead, it’s amazing how clear everything becomes. Narrow focused but not with our eyes, with the Spirit. To do all the good works God has planned for us to do, and who knows? Maybe if we close our eyes, we might just be able to see better.