Life, love and their meaning are all about deep seeing.

It begins in the newborn’s gaze, its dawning recognition, fascination, first smile while looking into her or his mother’s eyes. It happens in Mom’s astounding recognition that she has been an integral part of the miracle of love and life and that this is her child and at the same time the child of the Universe.

I’m also here to say that something similar happens to fathers. It happened to me in the middle of a night some weeks after the birth of our first child. It was my turn to change her diaper, hand her to Nancy for nursing and put her back in her crib when she was ready for another few hours of infant sleep. It was while I stood by the crib.

Layne was again in deep sleep, burbling a bit, at peace. It hit me how much I was in love with this new one who had so much living and learning to do. In awe and an awakening understanding of responsibility I gave myself to her in wonder and a prayer of gratitude.

Deep seeing is confirmed in our experience of awe, wonder, and full heartedness.

I’m writing this on the day that the NASA satellite Cassini, after its spectacular thirteen year mission to explore the rings and moons of Saturn, its surface and storms, experienced what its programmers call its “Grand Finale.” This morning at 7 East Coast time Cassini, running out of fuel, was sent into the fiery pulverization of Saturn’s atmosphere rather than into endless drifting as space junk.

Can you imagine what they felt? They had built and named their machine, talked with it, tended to its every need. In return it had revealed secrets of the universe. They must have been awe-struck by what the eyes of Cassini opened to them. At the very least they must have felt joyful satisfaction at a job well done, and more.

I’ll wager they felt themselves grieving. Not only was the focus of their life’s work for the past twenty years over but the product of their creation, their science and their art, dead and cremated.

I’ll venture one more likely consequence for the people who created and ended Cassini. Salted by their grief, what they have been through and now see becomes more then knowledge. It becomes wisdom. This is the way of deep seeing.

I’m writing this twenty five days after the full eclipse of August 21. We in Maine were on its edge. Many who experience the full shadow of the moon this time around speak of more than watching, of deep seeing. Their words are still fresh in my mind and imagination, “It was a sight to see and more. It moved something primal within me. It was spiritual.”

Deep seeing involves moves beyond observation into a realization such as the new parent gets, the NASA team must have had and those who were moon shadowed experienced. It is a mind-blowing, heart filling experience of being a part of something immense. It is spiritual and leaves one humbled and blessed with grandeur.

In our Judeo-Christian Bible this deep seeing is called “knowing.” By those who “know” it has been seen in loving as in “You are a beloved child of God” and offered as invitation in “Love God and neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus looked around at his friends, his family, his culture and gentile cultures and lamented. “Would that you could see. Would that you could hear. Would that you saw the sacredness and recognized God.” I can hear him saying, “Take time, look and see it in the lilies of the fields, in our rivers and bays and lakes and oceans, in the sun and moon and planets, in the pet in the shopping cart of a homeless one and in its keeper, in the cardinal at the feeder, the garden refreshed in a summer’s rain, your neighbor, the sojourner, the asylum seeker, even in the one reflected in your mirror.”

Deep seeing takes time set aside. In that practice the sacred reveals itself and changes the direction of our lives. To see the sacred is to love it. To love it is to serve it. To serve it is our true freedom, free to be who we are for love’s purpose.

Bill Gregory is an author and retired UCC minister. He can be contacted at: [email protected]