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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, October 7

Out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
—Isaiah 29:18

In his delightful book Sparks of the Divine, Drew Leder writes that we see like people with cataracts, blinded by the familiar and expected:

The sheer ordinariness of things is our cataract. We view our day through a glaze of familiar tasks and objects. Ah yes, another Wednesday. Ah yes, another tree by the side of the road, the ten thousandth we have seen and therefore no longer see at all. We glance at our to-do list and will never find written there—“encounter mystery; be dazzled and amazed; receive a great teaching from an unexpected source.” No, we're happy just to get the laundry done.

Some years ago when doctors became able to remove cataracts, they operated on dozens of people who had been blind since birth. For the first time these people could see. Many of them were astounded at what they experienced. 

When the bandages were unwrapped for one patient, he looked at a human hand, not recognizing its function, and described it as "something bright and then holes." Another patient was utterly astounded that each person visiting had an entirely different face.

Who knew? There was a little girl who stood in her garden amazed beyond speech. Then she took hold of what she called "the tree with the lights in it." One woman was so overwhelmed by it all that she had to shut her eyes again for a couple of weeks. 

Then as she began to look, she saw everything with an expression of amazement and gratitude, repeatedly exclaiming, "Oh God! How beautiful!" It only takes a little energy and imagination to really look at our familiar environment and see it again for the first time.


Open our eyes, O God, to see the glorious wonder of your creation and the mystery of your presence in all things. Amen.

These Signposts were originally published on in 2005.