Chris Turner
3 min readJul 17, 2021

In Praise of the Invisible

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Focus has worth. Whether it is harnessed and utilized in ways that fulfill you, or it is taken in small moments that diminish you.

More and more time — for work, connection, leisure — is spent in front of screens. By focusing so much on pixels, we diminish vital aspects of our world and lives, particularly those that are largely invisible.

What might it mean to connect with the unseen?

Giving attention to the invisible may help to understand or remember what is important to ourselves, our communities, to life.

It can also highlight vulnerabilities in individuals and systems.

Honoring the invisible can help us to reimagine power and our ability to change- ourselves yes, but also the world, as many unseen forces have universal effects.

Here are some examples of things that affect us every day but are never seen:

· Air

· Trauma

· Microbiomes

· Gravity

· Love

· History

· Thoughts

· Prayer

· Hormones

· Dreams

One of the more unusual aspects of the coronavirus pandemic is that so many people feel that they have seen the virus- from magnified, digitized images on news reports. But it is still circulating sight unseen, creating chaos in lives, relationships, nations and global systems.

As is carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases that are wreaking havoc around the world. It is frightening from the visible damage it leaves. What is unseen are the feedback loops in the wake of the destruction.

But without the unseen, life would not exist.

Without the invisible, the human story would be meaningless.

Hope and faith are invisible, but they can inspire reflection and action that creates profound change. This can ripple out to others, no less than fear.

Take time today to focus on the invisible. Put the phone away, turn the television off, close the computer. Be still. Keep your eyes open — they will tell you what can’t be seen. What is happening in the room, outside, beyond what you can see?

Your child’s heartbeat.

The growth of a tree.

Fish in the ocean.

Your own precious breath.

Technology does not make us human. Humans are complex. Complicated. We rely on each other in relationship and other innumerable pieces that never create a picture in our minds. Not just to live, but to create meaning.

No religion has a god or goal that is visible. Our stories, our ancestors, our deepest longings for ourselves and others, none of it is seen.

Even when artists create works that are visible, the inspiration is lost to everyone but the creator.

Praise the invisible. Share it with others.

Create the art. Discover the meaning.

Be grateful for all that supports us.

Focus on reality. All reality.

Nourish the unseen.

What matters to you that is unseen? How do you honor it? I would appreciate hearing about it in the comments.

Chris Turner

Interfaith minister & spiritual companion writing about spirituality, chaplaincy, and humanness— more at https://innerfaith.life