Dodge: Spiritual Blindness
Several years ago, my doctors became concerned with an extended bout of disrupted sleep so they sent me to a clinical psychologist, fearing I might be slipping into depression. While we figured out quickly I wasn’t in depression, the psychologist challenged me that I needed to confront a whole host of issues from my past, particularly my childhood.
I put up all kinds of resistance to this, insisting I was just fine. But she asked me to do something seemingly simple. She asked me to find a quiet place and go back and sit with myself as a child. I frankly thought this was a ridiculous exercise, but decided to do it anyway. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t get his homework done!
It took a long time to get still, but then I conducted a visualized conversation with myself as a child. What I discovered was a mountain of pain, real pain, I had never processed. It was like a black, ugly cesspool that I had been carrying around with me for decades. All I had to do was feel that pain, even briefly, to become convinced that this was a serious impediment to my finding true joy in life.
It took several years and lots of hard work, but I gradually dealt with some of it. As a result, I no longer walk around with loads of anxiety. I regularly experience joy and peace. This was some of the hardest spiritual work I’ve ever done, but it has borne great fruit in my life.
What I really learned was that I was blind, but blind for a good reason. I had used all kinds of half-truths and outright lies to survive a whole host of difficulties. I had told myself half-truths for so long that I hardly knew who I was.
This is the human condition in a nutshell. We’re blind and broken. We all know what we should do (love each other), but for a whole host of reasons, we don’t. We repeat the same patterns that have hindered us our whole lives.
In the Bible, it’s no coincidence that Bartimaeus is blind. When Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you,” he answers, “Rabbi, I want to see” (Mark 10.51).
This is the response of a true disciple. Mark’s Gospel deliberately tells it to contrast Bartimaeus, who knows he’s blind, with the Rich Young Ruler, who doesn’t. Unlike the Rich Young Ruler, Bartimaeus leaves behind everything and follows Jesus. The Rich Young Ruler goes away sad, unable to free himself from his attachments to the material things of the world.
The first step to being happy is realizing you’re blind. The next step is having the courage to face the real you – the conflicted, sinful and hurting you – and to open yourself to healing.
We find healing by attaching ourselves to the Spirit of the living God. The question is whether you’ll have the courage to do it.