“Do you know what those round balls are?” Michael asked me as we were standing at the hotel door beside the 12th century city hall which made up the front of the hotel.
He was referring to 2 beach ball sized spheres which each had blood shot looking eyes on the circumference. The balls were hanging from the railing on one side of the kidney shaped crystal pool.
“To keep the birds away?”
“Right. They think they are the eyes of a predator. It scares them away from the pool.”
I wondered. “How many times have I been scared away from something that I wanted to do because of the manufactured eyes of a predator?”
It doesn’t seem to matter if the eyes are blind or not. It they appear to be watching, do I run from something that is potential nurturing?
And, I wondered, “How much of my early childhood was spent worrying about God’s eyes watching me as some predator who might do me harm?”
I was raised in a family where the eyes of the divine were used to scare us into good behavior. Did I believe God was a predator who could do me harm if I didn’t stay on the straight and narrow? Or, were they simply dead eyes who were filled with power because of the imagination of a scared little boy who projected onto them the power to see and the strength to harm?
And how many times do I fail to act with bold brashness or courage because I believe there are eyes watching me and might do me harm if I act? How many times do I fail to speak because someone might judge me or hurt me if they didn’t like what they saw or heard?
If God is our ultimate concern, then the sighted or blind eyes of what we care about most take on power to control our behavior. And they keep us from trying the new, the risky, the unusual, the bazaar.
So, I guess the theological question is, “Are God’s eyes just round beach balls with blood-shot pupils painted on the circumference which are designed to scare us away from an interesting and exciting life, or do they live with a sensing sensation, observing us with tender tears, feeling with us the ache and pain of mistakes and the delight and joy of love?”
I don’t know, but I wonder.