Elizabeth Sherrill, author of Surprised By Grace, relays a story in the June Guideposts from one of my favorite authors, neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks. A man named Virgil had an operation which restored his sight after 45 years of blindness. Overwhelmed by the all of the new stimuli. the man was relieved when an illness later retook his sight. As Dr. Sacks said, “Now, at last, Virgil is allowed to not see.”
Sherrill wonders if God made a similar and kind decision on our behalf by also not allowing us to see all. Perhaps we, too, could not cope if we could see all of the past and the future, as well as the consequences of our actions. Her idea is intriguing, though unknowable, like the other big philosophical questions. But like some of the potential answers to those questions, it has a ring of truth. We must all decide our own truth to questions such as these, and this one made me think.
Of course, there are the factual, scientific reasons that seem obvious in explaining why we can’t see the future or be all-knowing. But haven’t we all wished we could see the future as we faced some difficult, life-changing choice? While I have wanted to see how my choices would play out to help me choose, I’ve also realized how blessed I am to not have that ability. Not knowing allows me to be optimistic about the future. Not knowing allows me to face tomorrow believing that I can make a difference. Not knowing prevents me from worrying about the inevitable.
But, most importantly, not knowing frees me to have faith…faith to place my trust in Someone who does know and see all. I believe, like the blind man finding comfort in the second loss of his sight, that I, too, have been allowed to not see.
“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” –Paulo Coelho