I drive pretty much the same route to work each morning. This can mean mentally shifting into autopilot and getting to work without much thought about the drive. We often do things with narrow vision, in our routine, without really “seeing” what’s going on around us. Routine can make us into robots, and we don’t always recognize this. Robots don’t know they’re robots, after all. But God has no desire for us to go about life as robots, not peering beyond the blinders that keep us honed in on the task at hand.
One morning, stopped at a traffic light, I inadvertently looked up, and what caught my eye was a bright sky with a long, white, wispy cloud stretching across the blue dome. It jolted me out of my norm. I realized that morning after morning I just looked straight ahead at the frustrating traffic before me, never gazing heavenward to see that the world was bigger than my commute.
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius offers two ways to remove us from our robotic ways. First he asks us to meditate on the Trinity looking down at the world and all that is going on, the joy and sorrow, the life and death, the hatred and the peacemaking. It’s a chance for us to see the big picture from God’s eyes, that the world is so much bigger than we are. It reminded me that while I was upset about traffic on my commute, somewhere in another part of the world, under a similar blue sky, there was someone without a commute to a job, struggling to feed his or her family.
Ignatius also encourages something I call sensitivity, that is, being more aware of our five senses. In the car I came to a new awareness of the gift of my vision through the blue and white of the sky; I could feel the cool morning temperature through the open window; I could smell the fresh air. Sensations let us tap into the presence of God that surrounds us and draws us outward, beyond our narrow perspective.
When I looked into that blue sky at the top edge of my windscreen, my blinders were ripped off, and God broadened my world just a bit more. I was reminded that there is a world out there filled with a God I need to pay more attention to.