At first I was confused. Then annoyed. Then I wanted to kill my feeds. Every social network has been exploding over… THE DRESS!
My initial response: why do we care?
We collectively need to get a life, get off the internet, debate something of value like what to do with immigrants at our borders or out-of-control terrorist groups, the Common Core or what sort of selfies President Obama might take today (have you see the Presidential Buzzfeed video?) or the reality that there are more people in slavery today than ever in the history of the whole world!
Heck! Even the whirlwind over 5o Shades of Gray is more relevant than THE DRESS.
But then I remembered a maxim that I learned several years back: Perception creates reality, but most people think it’s the other way around.
People in advertisement and politics have known this forever. The mob of society moves like iron shavings to a magnet — we shift and glom on to whatever is drawing us toward it and this collective shift becomes a wave and a movement and a “thing” where there wasn’t a thing before.
So now THE DRESS becomes a internet phenomenom. It’s creating emotions and psychological reactions, water-cooler debates and jokes for the late night TV guys. The Amazon reviews on THE DRESS are hilarious, and worth the read if you happen to be somewhere boring, like the waiting room at the dentist office.
But in the end, THE DRESS doesn’t matter. It’s our perception of it that is key. We are changing the conversation from “what color is the dress?” to “why do we see the dress differently?”
There is a science behind it; a Google search will help you find at least a few articles explaining light and cones and rods and neuro-pathways. There is a psychology behind it, and that’s being explored like crazy, because we’re so fascinated with ourselves.
This morning I thought of the things I see every day in my life and wondered if I respond to them like I respond to THE DRESS.
This morning was like a lot of mornings around here. Our kids sluggishly refusing to get moving for the school day, my husband repeatedly saying “C’mon! Get up! We’ve got 15 minutes!”, the dogs needing let out, the cat needing fed, the permission slips needing signed…the lunches made, the house cleaned, the “business” of every day life discussed. And in the middle of it all, Nikko comes up to me, seriously about a dozen times, showing me various origami creations (okay, one was pretty cool — a surfer riding a wave and it moves!) and lame card tricks.
Finally I say to him, “Nikko, are you dying for attention?”
We were irritated, we were in the daily rhythm of getting going, our vision was trained on the to-dos of the morning. And Nikko kept getting in the way of that vision, hopping into the room, saying goofy things.
But really, isn’t his little heart the most important thing? Wouldn’t I stop the world from orbiting the sun if it meant his happiness, his joy, his safety? Wouldn’t I stay up nights to care for him and drain the bank account to pay for medical care if he was sick?
And I think of all the things that matter to us and I have to stop and ask, “what really matters?” Certainly not THE DRESS. Or does it?
Because perception creates reality. The lens through which I choose to see today makes all the difference.
Ages ago, a follower of Jesus sat down, quill to scroll, and began to write his account of his days with Jesus. The follower was named John. As the last of the gospel writers, John was a little late in writing his story. Matthew, Mark and Luke had already set things down fairly clearly, hadn’t they? But John’s approach was different. John brilliantly laid out the gospel story of Jesus in a way that addressed a person’s perception. In every chapter Jesus’ deity is revealed. He’s saying, “It looks like white and gold, but it’s really black and blue. Here, let me show you”.
John begins at the beginning. The VERY beginning of the real story of Jesus:
“In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD.”
and then, John says a very revealing thing about the clouded and blurred perception of mankind when the light of heaven came into the world:
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world didm to recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…born of God.”
(See John chapter 1 for the whole story.)
Ah, see it now?
Throughout Johns book, he describes the biggest truth about Jesus: that he is God. He has dominion over all because he made it all. Jesus can save humanity because he made humanity. Jesus made this world gone crazy and he came into the world, took on the colors and shades and stripes of humanity in order to reveal his very true self. He is God.
Take a look at that dress. Then take a look at your life. Then invite THE LIGHT in and you just might see everything differently. YOU might be different.
John says that any who believe on Jesus have been given the right to see themselves in a different light, in a different perspective, in a different REALITY.
We have been given the right to be true children of God.
Maybe it’s time to see things as they truly are.