Learning to See

I think it’s more than fair to say that God used this reflection to teach me a lot this week. Waking up on Monday morning, I said to Mary, “I wish I was excited for this week.” I had gotten sick that Sunday, and I was prepared to just make it through the week. Although I have learned all year that I need to be present, that was not my first thought that morning. A few hours later, God gave me this seemingly inconvenient opportunity of writing a reflection to pay attention to what was going on this week and what He was doing in the community and in my own heart.

The week began with group presentations. Hearing everyone reflect on their time in Israel, including takeaway, highlights, and what God has shown them through their trip, was an unexpected blessing for everyone. That night we watched the movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. This began our week of learning and discussing Native American history and culture. The week continued on Tuesday with learning about Cultural Awareness and discussing the logistics of our upcoming trip. 

On Wednesday, we spent the morning exploring how we are to engage environmental ethics. This discussion deepened our understanding of ethics as a whole and how we effect our environment. We asked ourselves what sort of effect are we going to have in Arizona and New Mexico as well as our upcoming backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail.

Wednesday night we were introduced to the one and only Dr. John Johnson. This man has lived an incredible life serving God. Through his many different experiences, he has been led to serve the Navajo Nation. He has such a heart for the Navajo people and helped us understand more about who they are and what their life is like. 

Thursday, as a class, we read The Loss of the Creature by Walker Percy and discussed beauty and the theme in scripture of seeing things but not understanding them. We were challenged with questions like, “What does it mean to actually see?” and “Do our preconceived ideas defeat our sense of wonder?” We learned that beauty has the power of baptizing our imagination and discussed what it means to recover our sight. Today, Friday, we are exploring what we can learn from Native Americans about history and the gospel.

I am continuing to learn how when I do really pay attention, not only to what we are doing in OneLife, but what God is doing in me, I see things. While I am learning how to pay attention and open my eyes, God is showing me what he wants me to see. My prayer for our trip to Arizona and New Mexico next week is that God would help us pay attention to what we are doing and more importantly, what He is doing, and that He would open our eyes and our hearts to what he wants us to see. I pray that next week, we would experience his beauty and see Him in ways that we never have before. May we see His beauty in ourselves, in the brokenness of life, and in His creation.

- Amanda Hamm