Seeing With Other Eyes

It seems that the season of dancing is beginning here, and just the other weekend a group of students had the opportunity to go to a ball in Innsbruck, a town about four hours west of our little Trumau. The fellow-students who invited us are brothers who have had the privilege of spending many winters in Innsbruck. What was so remarkable about this visit to Innsbruck with them was how much their eyes were opened to the privilege that they had unwittingly been immersed in for years.

Innsbruck is a town tucked away in the beautiful mountains of northwestern Austria. They are craggy and soar straight up into the sky, and what made it all the more significant was that there was more than one member of our party who had never seen a mountain before. As you can imagine, this was utterly awe-inspiring for them. They were gazing, motioning and gasping at the beauty that surrounded us. For the brothers, who had been going to this scenic location ever since they were small boys, it was striking. They began to look around as well and say to one another, “I never noticed before—this place is incredible.”

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A view of Innsbruck.

At one point when the group of us was taking a wander through Innsbruck, one of the brothers even pulled out his phone to take a picture of a mountain which he had been “seeing” since he was a kid, saying in an awed voice, “wow, that is really beautiful.”

This event captures something I experience over and over at the ITI, the value of community for making me recognize beauty. Sometimes it takes the eyes of another to wake me to the beauty of something that is so everyday that it no longer strikes me. Perhaps it is simply that when you share with another, it forces you to slow down and see through their eyes, which makes the sharing itself a great gift.

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