So goes the song by Bob Thiele (who went by the name “George Douglas”) and George David Weiss. It was sung into immortality by Louis Armstrong.

I thought of this song as I was watching the morning news recently – there was a report about Roberta Ursrey and her husband, Brian Ursrey, of Panama City, who were hopelessly caught in a rip current at Panama City Beach recently while trying to rescue their family members who were also caught in the rip current.  Fortunately, Derek and Jessica Simmons were at that beach, saw the Ursreys stranded in the water and called out for strangers on the beach to link arms to reach them in the water.  The chain eventually grew to about 40 people, reaching 70 yards away from the shoreline – all were saved.

Derek Simmons remarked how amazing it was to see “all different nationalities, people that doesn’t speak the same language, races, shape, size, religion – it didn’t matter at that point”.  He went on to say that we all see so much violence and hate in the world – it’s important that people see the other side of humanity.

I admit that it’s very easy to be critical of people today if I allow myself.  I see what everyone else sees: war, prejudice, the de-valuing of the human person, greed, indifference.  I see it and I hate it.  What’s worse is that my hatred of that stuff may actually be hypocritical – is it possible that I’m an instrument of division in various circumstances?

In the midst of pointing a condemning finger at this vision of the world (including myself), I’m suddenly experiencing the clouded lenses being ripped off my eyes and replaced with clearer lenses.  Yes, all of the things I listed in my litany of disgust are present in the world, but THEY ARE NOT THE WORLD.  Some terrible things are being done by ordinary people AND wonderful things are being done by people sharing the same ordinariness.

Can I look courageously at the world and find it, as God did and still does, “very good?”  That requires new eyes, or more correctly, a new way of seeing.

There are clouds and storms that rage in the sky, but they do not consume the sky.  They can block our image of the sun, but the sun is still there.  It all depends on how I see the sky.  There’s a bigger picture than what I’m looking at in any given moment.  Maybe that’s why we felt the need to develop our upcoming October program on Finding New Eyes.  This is not a commercial – just a reflection.  Is it possible that our drives as humans to create and give to the world are actually divine impulses?

I want to see the whole world – I want to see the wonderful world that God made and is still making.  I want to see the world not so much as fallen, but as slowly rising – painfully and imperfectly growing toward God as the plant leans toward the sun.  Most of all, rather than being one of the voices of condemnation I want to be a part of the on-going process of bringing this new way of seeing into the world.

Lord, have mercy on us – Lord, you ARE MERCIFUL – Lord, show us your mercy and love that are always present – Lord, help us to be your mercy.

-Roger Pisani