what we don’t see

emotions. fear. joy. sorrow. elation. love.

When was the last time you saw LOVE? Or hate for that matter. Oh, we see actions that reflect love, hate, sadness. But we can’t see the thing itself, because it’s intangible. If we’re honest we see that most of the human experience is intangible. When we die there will be records of our lives — birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates, and death certificates. These are the tangible facts, but how deeply did we live, how did we love, what did we feel? These are the intangibles.

In our culture we are often wary of what we can’t see or quantify. And yet our most poignant moments are full of them and separate us from other animals. At the park the other day we saw a dead turtle floating in the pond, covered in moss and barely visible. No funeral procession, no mourning turtle-family, nothing. It probably saddened my children more than it did the other turtles.

The other day my daughter asked me why adults cry when they are happy. I didn’t really have an answer, but she came close to tears a few days later when re-united with her favorite stuffed friends. Emotions often take us by surprise. No human can deny their existence, at least no sane human.

And then there are other intangibles that are less comfortable to discuss. But all detectives know that what we don’t see holds the most significance.

angels. demons. heaven. hell. God. purpose. salvation. brokenness. evil. soul. Spirit.

What don’t you see?

7 thoughts on “what we don’t see

  1. I can’t see another person’s heart. So, I judge them by their actions which I can see and their words which I can hear. And I’m sure that sometimes my judgments do not match up with what is inside their hearts.

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  2. As I read over this, it seems your intent is to say that it is the intangibles that give meaning to life. Fair enough. But then you go on to take your specific intangibles and apply them to others. That’s not fair.

    For instance “…our most poignant moments are full of them and separate us from other animals.” This just isn’t true. Elphants morn their dead deeply and even pratice a degree of a funeral. Wolves have a goodbye ceremony for members of the pack that are too weak to hunt, before the wolf goes off alone to die. Dogs experience depression deeply with all the usual signs that humans display. They’ve even been known to become so listless after the death of a master as to starve to death. We aren’t seperate from animals. Its an arbitrary division. If you look at number of skyscrapers built, we are on top. If you look at number of eggs laid…we aren’t even in the ranking. This is not to elevate beasts or denigrate humans. It’s just the plain facts.

    “angels. demons. heaven. hell. God. purpose. salvation. brokenness. evil. soul. Spirit.” Those aren’t the same kind of intangibles you were talking about before. Emotions may be intangible, but the brain structure and chemicals which create them are not. We can look at a portion of the brain and say “Chemical X in region A causes behavior 1”.

    There is no physical part of universe that you can add a measureable quantity of anything to and see hell, or heaven. They are an intangible of a totally different sort. Whether they exist or not cannot be proven (or disproven) so they are correctly seen in the realm of faith, but you need to not confuse the inability to see something with your eyes with a total inability to quantify something at all.

    On of your posters said “It’s important to have faith, for what would life be without it? Nothing but emptiness.” This is the exact same lack of empathy shown in in the belief that animals feelings are somehow not as real as ours (I do give you, that turtles emotions are probably far simpler than ours.) Faith is the mainstay of the human existance, even for the atheist. I have faith that the universe is real. There is no evidence for it, not really, because if the universe is a dream, than the evidence could be a dream too. But I have faith the universe is real. I have faith that I can, with investigation tell what is real and what is not, that other people can too, that real communication can take place. That’s all things I must faith in.

    But, I suspect that is not the kind of faith is not the sort your poster is refering to, and being that examples of the intangible are very Christocentric, I suspect thats not the sort of faith you refer to either. “Nothing but emptiness.” It’s a veiled insult. I do not believe that there is any intrinsic purpose to life. I don’t think my love for my wife is anything more than an evolutionary response.

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t love her. Anything viewed as its base components sounds ugly. Shredded muscle and organ tissue and chicken ova on ground wheat sperm doesn’t sound good. But its sausage and eggs on toast. Knowing the truth about life, knowing that it has no intrinisic purpose, doesn’t mean that it has no purpose…it just means it has no intrinsic purpose.

    Ever watched your kids play with an old cardboard box? They find joy in it not because of intrinsic purpose, which is meaningless to them, but because of the purpose they give it. The universe is a carboard box. The intangible of Joy comes from playing with the box and giving it the meaning you want. To say that without faith, everything is meaningless is like saying that “Unless you understand and accept that this box was designed by a personal friend of yours just for you and that everything neat you do with it is a gift from them, then you can’t have any fun playing with it.” Really?

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    1. Life, What Does It Mean To You?

      Hello Rageo Matic, it was I, who made the comment, “It’s important to have faith, for what would life be without it? Nothing but emptiness”! Let me expand on my observations about life and faith. I believe there is a higher power, I call HIM GOD, that everything seen and unseen was created by HIM and for HIM. I can’t tell you that I understand all of His ways, anyone that makes that type of statement is lying. I know what scriptures says, but it doesn’t mean that with our limited minds we could ultimately know GOD’S infinite ways. Or does this mean that I don’t have questions about the “why’s”. I can tell you that since reading the good book, it changed my life for the better. If in the end of this life there is nothing else, at least I lived life having the faith and hope that was able to sustain me. I also know His name, and have a personal relationship with my GOD, I call HIM JESUS, the name that is above all names, the name that all knees will bow and confess that HE is LORD. Philippians 2:10

      Now for those of you on the other hand that don’t believe that GOD exists, that live life thinking that we are just part of the evolutionary change of random particles, that may just be an illusion of our own creation, where there is no right or wrong, no heaven or hell, just one life to live. So you say to yourself, “lets live as we please and enjoy it because in the end we just go back to being dust and as we all know, he who has the most toys wins”. You lie to yourself believing, and strife through life always chasing after the wind where ever it may blow in hopes of finding the joy that you believe that only things and possessions can give you.

      Setting goals for yourself but never being fulfilled, even though you reach the goals that you set for yourself, all based in human logic, which is your god. While reaching your personal goals in life that continually change, with a never lasting happiness that comes briefly for a short time but more often disappears in a twinkle of an eye. If this is your perspective on life, what if in the end GOD does exist and there is a heaven and hell? You will have lost! Not only in this life but in eternity.

      In your quest to be your own god, you will spend eternity apart from the one and only true GOD, and I on the other hand will live with HIM all through eternity. You lose I win, and if there is no GOD we both lose, but at least I have lived life with a purpose that was able to sustain me without having to resort to the vices that this world has to offer, which takes control of too many of us, only because the lie seems more attractive and we will rather have the faith to believe the lie that tells us, “that we are actually in control”, even while we know that we can’t control for one second the last breath that we may take.

      I’m an animal lover, I also run a small dog rescue, which I finance. As a person who has had the awesome opportunity in life to be around dogs, which I consider one of the ALMIGHTY”S greatest creation. I do agree with you that dogs although not human, do posses a system that is programmed into their very being by the CREATOR.

      About five years ago I was relocating my business. While driving to our new site, there was a dead female dog laying on the street and next to her was a male dog just sitting next to her. As I got out of the truck and approached the two dogs, the male dogs started to bark at me, I knelt down placed both my hands in front of him and allowed him to smell the scent of my dogs. I gently picked up the dead dog, while the male dog moved back while continuing to bark at me. I placed the dog to the side of the road. It was late in the evening. I drove away made a few more trips. The next morning I met with animal services, the male dog was still by her side. They took the dead female dog and I took the male dog with me. Point of the story, my CREATOR is also the CREATOR of all things seen and unseen.

      Just think for a moment GOD in HIS wisdom used the English language to name our four-legged friend dog. No coincidence that dog spelled backwards spells god. We refer to our dogs as mans best friend. Our dogs don’t judge us, they aren’t concern whether we are rich or poor, skinny or fat, white or black. They just give us unconditional love. The Bible says in John 3:16 For GOD so loved the world that HE gave His only begotten SON , so who so ever believes in HIM shall not parish, but have ever lasting life.

      To me that means that all things in life including animals are special. They are placed here on earth for us to enjoy. To those of us that have dogs, we know this to be true. I’m also one that will challenge the idea of many preachers that say that our dogs won’t be in heaven. They must have never had a dog or not understood the concept of making everything “Whole and New”. Now that I stated my observations in reference to animals and specifically dogs, I hope this makes it clear that I do value life in every form, because I know that HE who created me, also created them.

      As to your statement, “I do not believe that there is any intrinsic purpose to life. I don’t think my love for my wife is anything more than an evolutionary response.” Wow! So the way that you are wired in your opinion is just a random act or an illusion of an evolutionary life? This too is also a leap of faith on your part, faith in a finished product that has no design, purpose or function other than what one wants it to be. This sounds good to people who want to live a life that is apart from GOD, and allows them to live life by chance and in so becoming their own god in a world that is lived without faith. This too is a faith, of ones own limited imagination.

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  3. wow! Anna, You know how to start a topic! What I don’t see: a ribbon claiming you’re better than anyone. Keep up the good words. Authenticity is something else you can’t see, something I’m certain you post with. Thank you by the way, for connecting me with Gina Calvert author of ‘From Gravel to Glory’.

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