We were driving over a bridge on a highway. Trees painted the broad valley below us in rich shades of green. It was then, looking at the trees, that I realized the reality of what was happening to me, optically speaking. I shouldn’t have been able to see the trees. Vertical supports lined the length of the bridge and were connected to a horizontal rail at the top. I could see the rail; it appeared to be floating above the surface of the bridge, but the vertical supports had disappeared. It was like I was looking right through them.
Speed made all the difference. Because of how fast we were driving, my brain was able to isolate the empty spaces between the vertical supports and only focus on those spaces, and in so doing, I effectively edited the metal poles out of my sight. Only when I realized what was happening was I able to detect the slightest aberrations that the vertical supports were having on the trees. That is, it was the knowledge that I was viewing the trees at high speed from behind vertical supports that allowed me to detect the distortions that the supports were, in fact, having on my vision.
The parable tucked away in that moment stepped out of the shadows and stood before me as bare and bold as the sun at noon on a cloudless day.
We look out on the world from behind these eyes of ours, and we think we have a grasp on reality. We think what we see is all there is. We see the trees, and we see the horizontal rail hovering above the surface of the bridge. But the more we look and the more we ponder what we think we see, there are moments in which we realize there must be more. There’s got to be something holding up that floating rail. We can’t see what that thing is. Perhaps we’re moving too fast. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know rails don’t float. And it’s then, armed with such knowledge, that we catch the faintest glimpses of the aberrations that the unseen reality of the vertical supports are having on our vision. There is evidence that the supports are there, but we only notice that otherwise invisible evidence once we’ve affirmed rails don’t float. The knowledge of the supports don’t create the supports. The knowledge of the supports help us to slightly readjust our focus and detect what we couldn’t see before.
In the same vein, there’s got to be something holding up this big ol’ world of ours. We can’t see it, but the more I look, the more I ponder it all, I’m convinced that the human immune system was designed and that love is not simply a chemical reaction in my brain to get me to pass on my genes to the next generation and care for offspring and that the reason I can imagine infinity is because such a thing really exists.
Now, I can’t see any of those things. But once I know and accept that the visible world is made up of a whole slew of invisible realities, it’s precisely then that glimpses of those otherwise unseen realities become possible for me to catch. My knowledge of such a truth and my affirmation of it doesn’t create the evidence that supports the truth. However, it’s almost as if the acceptance of the truth is precisely the thing that allows me to see the evidence of it. I wouldn’t see the evidence otherwise. I’d assume green trees and floating rails were all there were. But as soon as I realize that such things can’t be and accept that there has to be more, it’s then and only then that my eyes are truly opened and I can detect the slight yet very real evidence of the vertical supports that hold up the world.
It’s as if you need to see the truth with your heart first, and then and only then are your eyes able to catch up and affirm what you already know and provide you with evidence of a thing you no longer need to be convinced of.
I invite you to open your eyes, perhaps for the first time, and truly see.