Early this week a friend was talking about his weekend. He said the highlight was seeing the movie “Patch Adams”. He said it was a beautiful experience. He said it talked about hope and about people caring for one another and that ultimately it was about unconditional love. It sounded like a movie I might want to see.
It’s not unusual for men to talk about movies they’ve seen but this was a very unusual talk. The man discussing the movie he saw is blind in the conventional sense. He has no eyesight and yet here he was telling me about a movie he saw over the weekend.
His description of the beauty of the movie reminded me of how blind I can be. My obsession with self blinds me to the beauty around me. I am sitting now looking at the Atlantic Ocean and am very aware of its beauty and power. I have no real problem seeing the beauty of nature. Physical beauty, the beauty that can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched presents no difficulty for me. The beauty of little children or of animals or flowers threatens not.
I am blind to the beauty behind infirmity or under blemish or that which is hidden from me by the wrong accent or chosen word. I judge people and institutions by what I deem to be their shortcomings as though I had none myself.
Actually, I judge myself at least as harshly. I hide from you my blemishes and faults under expensive clothes and fancy cars. My very deep belief that I am not good enough and not lovable causes me to clothe myself in these uniforms of propriety and property. I hide many of my thoughts from you under words constructed to impress.
Shame and fear that you may discover the real, detestable me have controlled my life and attitudes for as long as I can remember.
I’ve worked hard to dispel these untruths and I see much progress. My spirit knows well the devastation I’ve caused with the lies I’ve told myself about myself. Because of those lies I have been absent in relationship and have hurt many people. My struggle to be present continues and I am aware that the cell I’ve lived in for so long has no walls.
I can measure the distance I’ve traveled from those dark years of self-hatred by observing how I deal with others I used to treat with disdain. My built-in judger whose purpose was self-protection has been uncovered and I now sometimes feel strong enough to love him into submission.