Clearing Away Your Vision To See Yourself
Some years ago, I spent an entire summer serving as a chaplain in a large hospital in downtown Orlando as I completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education.
That summer became one of the most formative times of my early pastoral career. It was there in that hospital that I began to learn about the practice of awareness---of myself, my junk, my baggage and biases.
Once, I was reflecting with my supervisor on a situation where I'd been visiting with a woman in her hospital room, when her adult son who lived with her arrived.
After a few moments, I found myself growing angry at them both. The more I learned about their situation, and what I perceived as their dysfunction, the madder I got.
As I was relating this to my supervisor, I suddenly realized that the reason I'd been so angry was that they reminded me of family members I'd been in conflict with.
Because of my lack of awareness, I was not able to be objective when I was with them. I was stuck in my own head, unable to move forward. This realization washed over me like a wave of relief, and I felt freer.
In his wonderful little book Awareness, the late Anthony de Mello wrote this line that I have been thinking about lately:
What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you. You are always a slave to what you're not aware of. When you are aware of it, you're free from it.Being aware of ourselves and our biases in the midst of tense situations, interpersonal contacts, relationships, work issues, and even life's challenges and tragedies is a difficult proposition at best.
But if we are willing to enter into the good and hard work to do so, it can set us free to be the people that God longs for us to be.
Jesus once told his followers that in order to see more clearly how to help someone else, we need to clear away all of our own junk---whatever might be hindering us to see properly.
May this be so for you today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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