Give me your Eyes

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I returned from Guatemala in 2001 with a completely different perspective – a global perspective.  During my time there I realized the difference of culture as well as the need that existed in everyone.  That need wasn’t just something present in Guatemala, or India, or Africa ­ it was present in everyone around me.  Americans had needs just as Guatemalans did; they were just different.  As I took on this new perspective, I wanted my eyes to be open more to the realities of life around me.  To my neighbors, my students, my coworkers, my community.  Years later Brandon Heath put these words that were in my head to a song titled Give me your Eyes.  The chorus proclaims:

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

When I return from Guatemala it’s always easier to see the needs of those around me in the first few months than after the busyness of life in the states swallows me up.  I have looked forward to my time in Guatemala every summer as a time of refocus and perspective.  Last weekend someone asked me, “So you’ve spent so much time there that you’ve fallen in love with these people?”  And I would have to say that I have a love for the Guatemalans, but that same love that I have for them is translated to others as well – my students in my classroom, those around me, children in Brazil, and Canada, and the Netherlands.  To me it’s not the specific place as much as it is the people.  Brandon goes onto write….

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

I’ve Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all along

And it’s true.  I’ve been there a million times, consumed with the busyness around me to see people for who they really are.  One thing my time in Guatemala has taught me over the years is to slow down and give those around me a second glance and a listening ear.  And so the answer to my friend’s question is yes, I have developed a love for the Guatemalan people over the years, but at the same time I have developed a love for all people.  For the needs that we all have.  We are all broken people in one way or another.  That brokenness can either me mended and healed or left to continue to cause pain.

As I prepare to leave, the words of Brandon’s song continue to play in my heart as my hope is to see the people around me each day through the eyes of compassion and understanding.  As you encounter people today, see deeper as well.  Blessings to you!

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