Eyesight Without Eyes

Chad was graduating with his AA degree and the girls and I decided to make a weekend trip out of it without the kids. None of them could get off work anyway, so it made the decision easy. Char was eager, not having seen mountains since she was a toddler. We booked a room and planned to bookend graduation day with plenty of sightseeing. The first stop was Walker Mountain.

We spent the first half hour seeing sights we hadn’t exactly planned on seeing because, well, we were lost. Sometimes, you discover the most interesting things that way. Eventually, we found the winding, two-lane road that led up to our distinct destination. We found a ghost town along the way that you could rent out for whatever you wanted. Imagine renting an entire town for a weekend!

We reached the spot we were looking for, a small country store with a 100-foot tower as it’s main attraction. There was also a small rope-swing bridge that crossed the parking lot, leading to a small platform, which offered an amazing view of the mountainside. Of course, the girls wanted to climb up for what they saw as a great photo opportunity. I took a long look at the bridge as it swayed in the mountain breeze and didn’t believe our lives were worth it. As always, though, I was outvoted, and soon we were bouncing along the weathered wooden slats to a platform that appeared as if I built it, which scared me even more. Correction: the girls were bouncing. I crept along one inch at a time, my hands developing rope burn by how hard I was holding the flimsy hemp rails. I just knew the trip was going to end with me being road kill on the parking lot below.

I survived, but it wasn’t because the girls didn’t try to swing and bounce me off the bridge. This is why I don’t purchase life insurance. They do not benefit by killing me off. Of course, they see my fear of heights as a form of payback for my jumping out from behind doors yelling, “Boo!” I think it’s a race to see who can give who the first heart attack.

Once we were back on solid ground, Char wanted to climb the hundred foot tower. There were no walls to this pile of metal stairs climbing back and forth, ever upward to the sky. The guard rails looked about as secure as the rope bridge and I could see the top swaying even without anyone on it. My imagination already had a gust of wind shoving me through the railing to land on someone’s Hyundai below. There was no way in Hell I was going to climb that thing. At least the lighthouse we had toured a few months back had a solid wall for me to press back against as the girls tried to coax me to the edge. This structure looked flimsier than a kid’s tree house. There wasn’t even a strap to hold onto or a bungee cord to wrap around you.

Teri and I waved goodbye as Char and Sarah began to mount the stairs. The country store had rockers on the front porch and I safely parked my backside in one and watched them ascend, my knuckles white as I grabbed the arms of the chair, afraid one of the girls were going to slip and tumult downward. They were klutzy that way and my fear of heights is so bad I even hate watching other people climb.

The selling point to this stick in the sky was once you made it to the top without being blown off the edge; you were able to see four different states. The girls climbed the stairs to see what they could see while I sat in my rocker and brought up Google Earth for a safer view.

The four states they were supposed to be able to see were Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. I wasn’t sure how the girls were going to tell the four states apart. Virginia was a no-brainer, because we were standing in it. However, the others were going to be trickier. I learned in elementary school that the lines on the maps weren’t actually painted on the ground and state lines were more ideas than tangible objects. I had asked them if there were billboards in the distance marking the states, but alas, even that assistance was denied them.

“So, what did you see?”

“Mountains, forests, homes,” they offered. “The view was awesome, Robbie. We could see for hundreds of miles.”

“But how could you see other states? How did you know that it wasn’t all Virginia?”

“You can’t look at it with your eyes the way you’re wanting to. You just have to see it.”

And that is how your dreams should begin. It starts with a vision in your mind. You may not be able to explain how what you see is real, but nevertheless, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is. This is very true in the arts as well as inventions. It’s true about our emotions, as well. Your dream begins within you. You see it without tangible lines or physical evidence. It’s real inside of you and you can see it without your eyes. It’s internal, and it’ll be your job to make it a reality seen by others. Vision begins within.

Others may look at a painting and see colors and shapes, but a person, who looks without their eyes, but rather with their heart, can see deeper. They don’t just see the painting; they see the emotion of the artist. It’s the same with reading a book or listening to a song. With your senses you can enjoy the work, but you’ll get so much more out of it if you learn to see without your eyes and hear without your ears. Allow your heart to take you deeper and you will have a richer experience than those who only use their basic senses.

The New Year is here and many are making resolutions and setting goals. I challenge you to make this the year you see beyond what others see. Where your eyes stop, allow your heart to keep going. See the intention beyond the creation. See without the lines and boundaries that society tells you are there and you will see life in a whole new way; you’ll grow deeper as a person. Be willing to see beyond what others say is there, for many people are nearsighted in their vision. I dare you, close your eyes and see what’s really there.

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