That’s what we’re supposed to see, isn’t it? To see the hope in despair. To see reclamation in the rubble of our lives. It is way too easy to look at the face of suffering and give in to the concept at face value.

And the extended metaphor continues…

Sometimes that’s a real struggle.  It’s easy to become jaded and thick-skinned where it comes to life in general.  We insulate, and protect, and get to the point where the world cannot reach us.  And that’s where seeing positively becomes distorted to fit our insular viewpoint. 

I have a friend of mine who has changed a great deal in the last few years.  In that process the entirely of their life was turned upside down.  Everything was called into question about its value and importance.  We’ve all been there before, although most haven’t been as thorough as we should have.  The things that were important before changed.  The things that are important now have also changed.  Those issues haven’t really changed, but the person viewing them has.  My friend has really completely been transformed in so many ways.  That transformation is the important part.

That’s the whole deal, isn’t it?

It’s not what we see, but who sees it.  In turn that affects how we see it.  That’s why the words of someone who captures beauty in the most stark of circumstances are held in such high regard.  When the face of humanity is discovered in the midst of situations that rob us of it, we see it as inspiring. 

People of faith are told, but rarely taught to see every person as a reflection of God.  That each person, whether it be someone who is a CEO or a homeless beggar, a convicted killer or an innocent victim… are all reflections of He that created us all.  That is why I often am so challenged by places where the urban city seems to be choking out life, dignity, hope.  When I see the inner-city, I see a place where the graciousness of God is resting and dormant.  But, the as the person that I am changes, I realise that God isn’t just resting and dormant, He is moving in powerful ways.

So, what do I see when the morning sun shines?

I don’t see the decay.  I used to.  Sometimes I would be caught up in the things that were falling apart and how we needed to address them.  I would lose what was actually going right, .  My heart desires to be a person that sees that more and more.  There is a significant shift in priorities when someone looks for those issues in which God is already moving, and that comes from us being transformed.

I don’t see the face of what is there.  The homeless, the disenfranchised, the brokenness, the structures of society that seem to keep things like this happening more and more.  If one looks at the face of it all, one gets frozen, overwhelmed and unable to move.  It hurts to see people in pain, and my heart hasn’t stopped aching for the injustice that I see.  But, I see the beauty in the people, the grace that falls like that early morning dew, and the hope that  reclamation of people, places, communities, and institutions isn’t a dream forever.