My Dad often used the term, “look-see.” If something needed to be inspected, he had to go take a “look-see.” As a child, I thought it was funny; it sounded as if he said the same thing twice. I didn’t know it was an actual word. Merriam-Webster says so. It means to “take a quick peek or visual inspection of something.” The word was first used around 1883 by Chinese immigrants trying to get a handle on the English language.
Although both actions use the eyes, looking and seeing are really two different things. When you stop to ponder it, you can look all you want at something and not really perceive it or understand it. “Seeing is the ability to discern and understand intellectually or spiritually; to have insight and perceive or construct a mental image; to consider, and then visualize.” [Dictionary.com]
We may look around and note deprivation and destruction all around us, and it may not mean a thing. We may watch all the bad, sad news on TV and not be affected at all. Looking isn’t enough. It takes the act of “seeing” to understand, and a keen perception to view what lies beneath the surface.
Is the tattooed person with all the piercings a rebel? Is the panhandler on the street just lazy? Is the glamour star successful and happy? At first glance – a look – it may seem true. So now we have a choice. We can either look down our noses, or try to get a glimpse of their story. Seeing into their heart may give a whole different perspective. More than a quick “look-see,” we need to really see people and understand where our nation is headed.
We must look before we can see. To become a caring and understanding person, we must go beyond the act of looking. The right and proper thing can only be seen with our hearts. When we see clearly, we’ll know how to respond correctly. Discernment is a skill that is honed by polishing the lenses of sight. In these uncertain days of disenchantment, let us strive to be “seers” instead of only “lookers” and reach out to those who are in need.