Today, New England is bursting with color against a cloudless sky. There is magic in the reverberating red of the maple and a daring in the crispness of yellows cresting against the simplicity of blue. Gray creeps subtly across the horizon stealing the backdrop but framing the beauty, enabling a different voice and persepctive on what is beautiful, what carries energy and meaning. Wafts of apple cider donuts and cinnamon buns tantalize the senses and so the world is again transformed. Can we see it? Can we linger for a moment with the meaning? Can we wonder at the depth of the moment’s experience? Dare we realize what it is we are able to see?
Attentiveness to the moment, each moment, brings a revealing promise. It is not about what preoccupies or puzzles us, what demons of distraction we feed with speculation and imagined motivations. Instead, it is about being fully present a moment shaved from so many others and given us to live. Living itself is about discovering what it is that we behold and believing that it exists independently of our own making. There, we can find gratitude and wonder and more gratitude to find ourselves on the receiving end of what is so unimaginably beautiful. To see, to live that attentiveness requires the ability to know that there is something far greater than self. It is the humility of accepting self such as we are and daring to engage in something more.
Bartimaeus. He is the blind man in the Gospel, the one marginalized. Blind. Desparate? Or faith-filled? Both? In the Gospel reading from Mark, there is a stark simplicity to the encounter. The blind man calls out, Jesus responds, and Bartimaeus follows on the way. Clearly, Bartimaeus could actually see. He recognized the reality he was meeting. More importantly, he acted in accord with what he saw. There, aching with the abruptness of Mark, is a message. Vision is far more than sight, and interactions carry powerful momentum. There is courage in recognizing the need for help, dignity in asking for it, and delight in receving it. Transformation becomes a process more than a conversation, and it is life-changing with each development.
Each day, we have the capacity to choose what we will really look at, what we will truly see, and how we will interact with one another. That freedom exists within us if we dare to live it. Head down, eyes shaded, wrapped tightly in the frantic demands of a day, it is easy to miss the subtle greys and the brilliant reds. It is easy to live in the bubble of being rather than stand beside the wonder of a tree collapsing with the joy of color. Even a few moments of attentiveness can alter the course of a day or a week, a month….and sometimes, it can bring us into the space that Bartimaeus has now. He lived with an intuitive trust in the vision of another. He thought. He talked. He acted. And then, he could see with his eyes as well as his heart,mind and soul. To believe that there is a possibility to be more than what we are, that the world is bursting with invitation and it is ours to pause, to trust, to choose.