Quality of Sight

Woman Listening

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” ~ Helen Keller

“We’re a whole culture of people who have a really hard time seeing beyond ourselves.” ~ Jill Soloway

Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and felt like you were seeing into their soul, as if you could see their true essence? It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. The most profound was when my husband and I realized we not only loved each other, but that we’d known each other before.

In a way, seeing into someone else’s soul is jarring, because when we use our eyes to look at other people, we are seeing external things that don’t really matter. On the other hand the experience can be liberating because you, or at least I, feel a deep connection with that other person.

The thing that prompted this line of thought was a TV series my husband and I have been watching, See on Apple +. The premise is fascinating. The story takes place five hundred years in a dystopian future where a plague has rendered the population blind. In the first episode we see a woman about to give birth. Her twins are born with vision and we learn that they were fathered by a sighted man who abandoned the woman and her children. Fortunately she had been accepted into a village where the unmarried leader marries her and vows to raise her children as his own. As the children grow the fact that they can see is kept a secret to protect them from ridicule and abuse. This sets up the question, what advantages does sight give the children? The children’s birth father left messages and a box of books so they could learn to read and write with the express purpose of building a better world. But is that a good thing? The blind people have learned to use their other senses to their benefit. They know how to navigate to travel, to read knotted twine, communicate silently by signals in each others hands. It’s obvious that sometimes they have an advantage over the children, who rely very heavily on their sight. In this story, sometimes the blind characters see more deeply into situations, and other people’s motives than the sighted children do.

True sight involves discernment of the unseen as well as evaluating what we can see with our eyes. And the show raises the question, is it possible to see people for who they really are? Is it possible to see into another person’s soul? After watching this series, I have to ask myself do I try to see a person’s soul, or just their outer appearance, or behavior?

There is a really great classic movie that raises similar questions called The Enchanted Cottage (1945) in which a homely maid working at the cottage, marries the burned and disfigured soldier who rents it. They marry out of loneliness, but living in the romantic location of the cottage, they eventually bond and then fall deeply in love. The most touching scene is when they tell the landlady the miracle that has happened to them. That they were transformed and have become beautiful. The beauty they see, of course, is in their hearts. They “see” the other as beautiful and whole because their outer appearance no longer matters because of their love for each other.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about how I see people and situations. Do I look only at the surface and not try to see deeper? I know I can’t ever fully understand what’s going on in someone else’s mind and heart, but if I try, I might get a glimpse of their true essence, and what’s really happening behind their masks.

That’s my goal, to see into the beauty of people’s souls rather than at their appearance, or their behaviors. Sometimes I forget. I judge and blame and then I remember, “Oh, yeah, I need to look under the surface.”

This is short today because I’ve been busy recording and editing episodes of my soon to be launched podcast Story~Power. It’s interesting how many of my guests have expressed similar sentiments to the ones I wrote about above; how the stories they love help them see into a characters soul. The stories they consume help them understand themselves and others better. That has been the most fun aspect of my conversations, hearing what my guests have learned from the stories they love.

I hope the summer/winter is looking bright for you. Stay safe and healthy.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate your support.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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