Faces on Faith: Windows and sharks
Throughout childhood and into my teens my mother always reminded me that “the eyes were the windows of the soul.”
I remember being intrigued with that statement – as elusive as it was – still is – to comprehend. All sorts of questions arise. The soul? That holy and mysterious “place” in our very beings? That spiritual entity that lives on long after our physical bodies are gone?
Was all of creation around me being drawn in through these windows and processed, prayed over, and put forth again through my eyes – hopefully more enlightened, more compassionate, more in awe of God’s Spirit around me?
“The eyes as windows of the soul” – a metaphor to mull over.
Then last year I read an article that stated, “Your eyes are the sharks of the human body – they never stop moving!”
From windows to sharks! Yet another intriguing image to ponder.
I knew about REMs and the rapidity of eye movements during certain periods of sleep; however, this information about daytime movement was new to me.
The article explained that, “During the day our eyes make as many as 240 quick movements in one minute alone – not unlike a shark making quick movements to discern and detect prey or danger.”
Of course, we’re not conscious of most of these 240-a-minute movements, but they occur to enable us to take in every change in the environment around us – both large and miniscule.
The article also stated that “vision is all about change.”
So, if the neuroscientists can say that “vision is all about change,” could we say that change is all about vision – a vision of our souls before God and what we need to change or transform in our worlds?
Could we take these factual ocular insights about our biologically darting pupils and allow them to help us better understand the spiritual “window” image?
How might our little panes stay open and clear to let God’s powerful Spirit shine light and love onto a hurting world – even as we also keep them wide open to where and what these needs are?
Sure, our flurry of eye movements per minute were created to keep us safe in a dangerous ancient world as humankind dealt with change.
But how can our 2015 windows of the soul also keep us and others safe as we deal with the dangerous world in which we live – a world that often seeks to diminish the presence of God at all.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, once wrote a piece called “Blessed are the Change Makers.” She pondered, “If we want light in the darkness of the world, we’re going to have to change the burned-out light bulbs…and if we want to see the Kingdom of God on earth, we need to figure out how to change [the world] enough to start feeding the ‘hungry’ and releasing people from various kinds of ‘prisons.'”
Wherever you are in these summer months, let your eyes be the windows of your souls.
Let your eyes move as quickly as they must to actually see and comprehend where change is a necessity. And let your hearts, and heads and hands begin again to envision just where the healing needs to commence.
-Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan, St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church.