Why can’t we see clearly?

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Sometimes when I start writing down my thoughts and feelings, I just want to complain.

It’s so exhausting to hear repeated reports of shootings, sexual and physical assaults, other violent crimes, wicked deceit from trusted individuals, and tales of woe and loss. It’s not just “so” exhausting — it’s soul exhausting.

But very soon after I start to write — usually about this far in — I am reminded of God’s goodness and mercy. And I begin to look at things with a different perspective.

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I am very much aware that the things I write will be read by other eyes, that my voice will speak into their minds and possibly affect their attitudes, as well.

So while there are plenty of things worthy of complaint and protest — take your pick of a plethora — I would honestly rather spend my time and energies focusing on what is worthy of note, of praise, of honor. It’s not always easy to do it, though.

My ability to focus on the positives is different depending on where I look. That’s just obvious, I guess.

As I listened to a favorite cover of an old rock ballad this morning on my drive in to work, I recalled that the singer had taken his own life a few years ago — unable to deal with his crippling depression. Then another musician who was close friends with him, and idolized him as a person, was unable to deal with that loss on top of his own immobilizing depression, and took his own life, as well. My eyes welled up with tears, and I never even knew these men. But I know they left children behind, and family and friends who loved them dearly, and saw the good they themselves could not see.

It’s easier to look at someone else, at some other situation, and see the good, the blessings, the hope. Sometimes it’s so easy to see these things from the outside that I wonder how in the world they could possibly not see the same themselves.

Why can’t you see this? I want to scream it, sometimes.

When my first wife and I had a serious disagreement one time, we could not see a way to resolve the issue. I had trouble seeing past my own feelings on it, and I’m sure she felt the same. Finally, she asked me, “What would you say to someone else who came to you for counseling on this issue?”

I don’t remember what the issue was, or the suggested solution I gave. But I recall clearly the way the light bulb came on for me in that moment. I was looking at things all wrong — from the wrong perspective, the wrong starting point, with the wrong motives.

So when my spirit wants to yell out, “Why can’t you see this?!” to someone else, I am quickly reminded that someone else may be wanting to scream the same thing into my heart.

It’s so easy to see the hope for someone else, and not always easy to see it for ourselves. So let me remind you of the hope you have. Your story is not hopeless. It is not over. Your troubles are not insurmountable, no matter what you may feel or think. If you can’t see this for yourself, let me be the one who yells it into your heart.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.