What is the vision?
The vision is holiness...
Holiness. Now there's an abstract word. And therein lies the problem of vision: even as we're expressing our ultimate desires and crafting a big picture future to live into, we've already shot ourselves in the foot by making those desires and that picture out of words instead of potential actions.
What, exactly, is "holiness that hurts the eyes," and how do I attain to that?
The thing is, we're creatures of a dual nature. We die when we're starved of hope, that stuff that big pictures are born out of and maintained by. But as any missionary in a third world country (or an inner city) can tell you, though man cannot live on bread alone, he still needs bread.
Somehow, we have to survive and thrive in a tension. There's the day-to-day, where we live every moment of our lives, and there's the future, where we determine our direction in order to grant retrospective meaning to the events of today. But that tension demands a lot, and often the two worlds are divorced. I was chatting with a friend last night about the aggravating problem of people who whine and complain about their day-to-day existence, but either have no dreams for an alternative life or else place a mile high and inch thick barrier of fear between their right now and the future they daydream about. They've gotten so comfortable that they don't know how to deal with the healthy pain of abiding in the balance.
It would be great if, in this world of Blackberries and iPhones and iCal, we could schedule a time for reality to pinch us every now and again. Comfort is morphine, dulling our senses and lulling us to sleep, until we've drifted so far into dreamland that we can't even remember where we were trying to go in the first place.
And don't get me wrong. I recognize that people change, and visions change, but we should not be too quick to abandon our projects unless they've been pursued and found wanting. Usually it's just a matter of impatience - we want to be where we're going in microwave time. But we have lost the art of making up our minds and sticking to them, even if it means permitting a desire to stew on a back burner for years.
I guess if there's a formula (to put it back into abstract ideas), it's this: be willing to take the lowest road to the highest point, and always keep your eyes on the end game. Nobody wants to live in the valley; they just quit because they look down and forget that there's a whole other world above the clouds.