Archdeacon Michael: It is all in the eyes

The Ven Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster
The Ven Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster
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It is embarrassing but there are certain things that I don’t know about myself.

I can remember a teacher trying to get us to memorise something and them saying, “You should know this, like you know the colour of your eyes.”

That summed up my problem. I don’t know the colour of my eyes! Not because I’m like my nephew and am colour blind, but more because I have never been able to work the colour out.

I know it is not brown, which is a little embarrassing as there is a mural in a primary school where the children have painted a wonderful portrait of me, but with brown eyes and many people have commented. I tend to say grey, my daughter says blue, sometimes I can’t tell. No wonder I struggle to memorise things if I can’t even remember my eye colour.

I think I know what colour my wife’s eyes are - hazel, buys me sufficient time, although I’m not really sure what it means as a colour type. Although I panic at the thought of having to describe her to someone.

Rather, as with the mural of me, it would be seeing it wrong that would enable me to know what is right.

Our view of someone combines all of our encounters with them and so in many respects she looks the same to me now as she did 33 years ago when we first met, yet of course she has changed. As for my children, once small enough to lift with one hand, my son now could do that back towards me!

One of my favourite books of the bible is the collection of songs from 3,000 years ago called the psalms.

The songs speak of most aspects of life and include the full range of human emotion. Psalm 139 reminds the singing and the audience that even if we don’t know the colour of our eyes or what we are doing, God does.

That God has a personal interest in us that includes all that we are about. This interest is not something new, but has been with us throughout our existence from our being “knit together in our mother’s womb”.

To know that someone holds all that I am in their memory is very heartening. That this goes throughout our lives means that just as we see the multiple ages of the people around us from our own experience, so too with God whose thoughts on each one of us “outnumber the grains of sand”.