The Color of God’s Eyes
When my mother passed last year, I made it my goal to make her experience one of reflecting on pleasant things in her life. I had learned some cognitive exercises from a psychologist friend that she had used on her own mother, who was dying about a decade ago.
Like my friend, I had my mother write in a “memory book.” It was a simple journal that I bought to capture some of the good memories in her life. The purpose of the book was to affirm the goodness of her life, rekindle happy memories, and strengthen God’s love.
In it she wrote details like the names of the nuns who taught her when she was a little girl in a convent school in Italy, the names of her friends, pets, favorite foods, etc. I also asked her to write down wishes of each of her children and extended family. The theme of God inevitably cropped up in her memories. Other family members were shy about raising the subject of her imminent death, but she was acutely aware that she was dying and would soon be leaving her physical body, and I think she found the writing, thinking, and speaking to be spiritually therapeutic.
During one of those conversations, as she lay in her hospice bed, we spoke about heaven. I instinctively and nonchalantly asked her to remember to let us know what color God’s eyes were when she went to heaven. I tried to make her smile and interrupt the otherwise somber conversation. I told her I suspected that God’s eyes were blue, like the picture of Christ she was using as a bookmark in the memory book in front of her. I asked her to promise to let us know as soon as she met God face to face. She nodded with the nod she usually gave me, having been used to my seemingly odd questions for about 50 years.
Months later, after she died, I kept thinking about that exchange. Although we all know that God is not in human form, it often helps us to think in these terms. Of course, God had a pair of human eyes, since he took human form in Christ. These were the eyes that brought vision and the clarity of truth to an often troubled and often blind world. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many gospels mention eyes – the windows to the soul. Human eyes are blessed and healed in several passages of the New Testament.
I had almost forgotten talking to my mother…until one clear fall afternoon shortly after she died. I was walking in a nearby park under a clear blue sky, and many people were enjoying the sunshine and the rustling of the leaves blowing in the wind. There were young people and old people and people from different backgrounds. There were lovers, babies, friends, parents and children…all reveling in the fresh air. As I looked around at the rainbow of people enjoying themselves at the park, the answer to my question was painfully obvious.
To my surprise, God’s eyes were actually blue! His eyes are also… brown… and green… and grey. Those colors were all around me that afternoon. God’s eye reflected all the brilliant colors that are the beautiful hues and spectrum of our human family. I am now assured that my mother knows this.
For if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, our God has made us a truly wondrous vision. I am sure that in each of our opportunities to meet God face to face and to look into His loving eyes, we will recognize this as very true and will find God as a reflection of each of us.
Thanks to Michael Angelo Massa