Who is Your Canary?
This week has been one of noticing perception. People see only what they can perceive. The challenge is how to see something new when there literally is no frame of reference? Over and over I have been in, and witnessed conversations where the communication fails due to the fact that one person just doesn't know how to see the situation differently. There is a temptation to label that person as close minded or ignorant yet it may truly not be their fault. It's like watching "Do you want to be a Millionaire" and seeing a question about your favorite TV show and the contestant has never seen it. You see the answer right away but there is no way that person will ever know the answer. Except... if they are willing to learn or be exposed to something new. How do we do this if we don't even know what we aren't seeing? There are two things that are needed. One is canaries, the other is an open hand.
We need canaries in our lives. Remember the stories of canaries going down into the mines? If the canary died in the mine then the miners knew the air they couldn't see was bad. We need people who point out what we can't see. Yes, it could be annoying because they force us to do something outside our comfort zone, yet they are so vital. Think of someone who annoys you - is it because they are your canary? Are they a call to new sight? Sometimes we are called to be that voice who sees things differently than those around us. Canaries have to be brave because often times humanity's blindness does lead to their death or suffering. We often celebrate the canaries who paid the price for claiming a new vision - Jesus, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Malala Yousafzai to name a few.
We also need an open hand. When a hand is in a fist everything is closed off. There is no way to see anything new. There needs to be a commitment to a lifestyle to be willing to open oneself up and possibly receive a new perspective. This means consciously choosing new places and new situations, making sure there are events in life that stretch and create new perspectives. Because we can only see what we perceive and if we wish to see with our Creator's eyes we'll need a big picture perspective.
Practice: Who are the canaries in your life? Where are you being called to bring sight to someone? Do you have people in your life who have a different voice than your own? Is your hand open or closed?