September 4, 2012

A Blind Eye

The September issue of Smithsonian Magazine includes an interesting article about the study of inattentional blindness. In one experiment, author Daniel Simons asked subjects to jog behind a man and count the number of times he touched his hat while jogging.  As they ran, they passed two men apparently beating a third. During the day, more than 40% of those participating didn't see the fight. At night, that number increased to over 65%. (source)  Simons writes:
How could they miss something right before their eyes? This form of invisibility depends not on the limits of the eye, but on the limits of the mind. We consciously see only a small subset of our visual world, and when our attention is focused on one thing, we fail to notice other, unexpected things around us—including those we might want to see. (emphasis mine)
How many times have I been so fixated upon something in front of me that other parts of my surroundings become invisible?

I ignore those around me because I am so focused on accomplishing the task at hand. Dinner on the stove and piles of laundry cause me to avert my eyes from my family's greater needs.

I ignore those around me because I am so focused on what I want. A good book or television show beckon more loudly than the voices of my loved ones.

I ignore those around me because I am so content in my own little world. The pleasures of home entice me far more than the hardships of my neighbors.

I ignore God because I am so complacent in my feeble faith. The riches of His mercy and grace fade in comparison to wealth of knowledge I carelessly (and mistakenly) profess. 

My narrow focus keeps me from seeing the unexpected - the conversation my girl wants to have, the attention my husband needs, the hurt in my neighbor's eyes, the treasure in the Lord's Word. They are lost to me because of my inattentional blindness.

As I grieve over this knowledge of my sin, I am thankful that God does not suffer from this same limitation. I am thankful that nothing is hidden from his sight (Heb. 4:13, Psalm 139:7, Prov. 15:3). I am thankful that there is coming a day when every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7), including my own, and my blindness shall be no more.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor. 13:12)


Becky said...

Es verdad, muy buenas palabras :) ¡Gracias!

Angela said...

This was very wise.

I keep thinking of the opposite, too. If we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will see the important things and be blind to all the things we should leave behind (the foolish things of the world, the perceived slights and insults, the unnecessary things we get wrapped up in).