Out of sight out of mind. Ay, how I despise that phrase! I think it’s even worse in Spanish — “ojos que no ven corazón que no siente” — eyes that don’t see heart that doesn’t feel — Yuk. Few things in life rattle me. Seeing someone use this approach is one of them. Just gets under my skin. Why does this practice appeal to some people? In a nutshell, because it shields the heart. But at what cost?
I mean, I understand the reasoning behind it. We don’t want to suffer through the mayhem playing out in the news, so we change the channel; we don’t want to be troubled by that homeless soul begging at the street light, so we change lanes; or we don’t want to deal with that someone who triggers in us certain inconvenient emotions, so, no matter how dear or close to us, we shut down and leave them hanging. Eyes that don’t see heart that doesn’t feel. It’s an easier way around life. Oh but what a blatant act of indifference.
I think this practice of detachment, of conscious avoidance if you will, is to our detriment. Its only accomplishment is to place our concerns, worries, pain, anger, disappointment, pride, or what have you, in hibernation while we wait and hope for these feelings to fade away or the circumstances to resolve. And yes, occasionally it works, but at a high cost. This indifference may shield the heart from certain inconveniences, but it leads to lack of compassion, and that my friends, hardens the heart. Going against every ounce of what God wants for us. Because a hard heart cannot hear God’s voice. Yet it’s tempting, this turning a blind eye so we don’t hurt. I know, I’ve tried this OOSOOM thing. But I’m what you call an emotiochist (yes I just made that up, like epishowers, those epiphanies I have in the shower, which is where the thought for this writing originated), so I must feel. I tell you, with that array of emotions, an introverted personality and an extra large size conscience, the type that causes me to constantly kick myself in the butt (but that’s a topic for another day) it’s no wonder I suffer from arrhythmia. Pero doesn’t matter, I just rather feel, and a hardened heart doesn’t. So this “not able to be seen and so not thought about” philosophy is not for me.
Besides, at first, it may seem like it’s doable. Like it’ll help us get away with not having to feel whatever it is. But most often than not, because we are good and decent, chances are we won’t be able to get rid of those inconvenient emotions and instead we’ll piggyback ‘em until, all of a sudden, we realize that it’s been in vain, not having served a purpose or resolved a thing, other than to make us physically ill and emotionally reckless. I’m telling you it’s like waterproofing a structure that you cover with concrete or pavers or plants – the deterioration goes unnoticed until the leaks surface. Then we realize that turning away from that inward or outward experience only increased its power over us.
Bottom line is that when confronted with life’s challenges, those we rather drop like a hot potato, it’s always best from the get go to resign to the power of stillness and prayer, recognizing that there lies the true path to our heart and our ability to truly listen to God’s guidance, to in turn be able to better deal with circumstances.
Out of sight out of mind. May the Lord never allow us to give into that phrase. May He help us rest in the cooling shade of His presence, slow down our restless hearts and fill us with gentle compassion for all people.
“The opposite of love is not hate,
The opposite of art is not ugliness,
The opposite of faith is not heresy,
And the opposite of life is not death,
– Elie Wiesel
“Compassion literally means to feel with, to
suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet everyone tends to avoid it because it’s uncomfortable. And the avoidance produces psychic numbing — resistance to experiencing our pain for the world and other beings.”
– Joanna Macy
“I came upon a doctor who appeared in quite poor health. I said, ‘There’s nothing that I can do for you that you can’t do for yourself.’ He said, ‘Oh yes you can. Just hold my hand, I think that that would help.’ So I sat with him a while then I asked him how he felt. He said, ‘I think I’m cured.'”