Compassion, Dominican Republic

Why We Can’t Afford To Close Our Eyes

Why We Can’t Afford To Close Our Eyes

airplane window

It’s 6AM by the time I board my first leg of my trip down to the Dominican Republic. It’s an early flight full of tired passengers, most of whom like myself, probably woke up well in advance of 6 and would do anything for a little more sleep. We are a quiet, groggy bunch.

It’s only minutes after we rise to cruising height, that the first hints of sunlight kiss the wing tips of the plane. We hang there, side by side in the sky.

But instead of growing brighter inside the cabin, as I’m straining across the aisle to see the pink bands of the sun rising, things begin to darken. One by one, stiff window shades are pulled down.

Just like that, the sunrise disappears.

Weary travelers recline with hats pulled down over their eyes, tucking chins to chests. Some trade the morning light for the harsh yellow of the overhead spotlight to read by, while others fight for sleep. And I understand it, I have done both. I too feel the inconvenience of a sunrise flight.

But in that moment I can’t ignore the gnawing voice that scratches at my heart as I mourn the opportunity I’m missing while strapped helplessly in my aisle seat with no access to the shades. This morning, an urgency swells. I want to fling the shades open.

How often do we get to see the sun rise from 30,000 feet?

Have we grown so bored with the majesty of the dawn breaking that the glorious has now become the lackluster mundane? When did we become too tired to appreciate the gift of the new day? Have we lost our sense of wonder at the marvel of creation that unfolds day after day without fail, even as we fail to pay attention?

Open your eyes. 

I hear this like a reverb in my soul.

Open your eyes.

I nod to myself. I expected this word, open.

As I prayed and packed and prepared to leave the word, “open” was the word that wrapped it’s arms around me, and shook me with desperate determination. In order to spend, we have to be willing–we have to be open.

I hear this in the dark of the cabin: Let the light in. BE overwhelmed by the majesty of this moment. FEEL the beauty and humility of your smallness. Let the pinky-white glow of the sunrise envelope you, renewing your appreciation for the magnitude and generosity of God. Let the light TRANSFORM you.

But there’s more. We aren’t just called to open our eyes to the light–but to actually become it.

You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

I lived for 15 years with the shades down. I knew about Compassion International for 15 years before I ever considered child sponsorship. 

15 years.

Comfortable in the dark, I shielded my eyes from what I could not bear to see–from what I was too tired to observe–until I could no longer hold back the light. What I saw then, I could not un-see.

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8)

Dawn is breaking. God’s kingdom is coming, on earth as it is in heaven. We can’t afford to close our eyes anymore.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. (Romans 13:11-12)

Child sponsorship is life-giving. It is light bearing. I have seen the luminance in the eyes of these children and in the words of David Jr. who pulled at my sleeve and told me, “I am crazy for Jesus!”

Compassion DR
With the adorable David Jr. (12 years old)

Be a light for a child living in extreme poverty. Sponsor a child from the Dominican Republic.

if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)

Let your light rise in the darkness. 



  1. Love this, Kris. I’ve had those same thoughts about the rising and setting of the sun. I want to shout, “DID YOU JUST SEE THAT!” Such glory, and what a beautiful post. I want to be like David…I want others to say about me: “She’s crazy about Jesus!”

  2. terrisiebert

    This is so good, I am not one who likes to fly a whole lot.,seeing the sunrise on my last few flights was like God saying “hey open your eyes and look I am in control… Look at what I have out here for you to see if you would just open your eyes and look out!” We have to keep our eyes open, beautiful post!

  3. Kris, I am so happy for you, that you got to go on such an amazing trip. I know you will come back forever changed. God is doing a great, deep work–has been and will continue. It is a glorious thing to witness. I love you.

  4. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous piece of writing here. I am feeling this… I had a similar experience on a Delta flight several years ago, and was so moved by shades-open living, that I wrote about it in Love Idol! I’m excited to be “going” on this trip with you. My heart is moved by your words and your stories, Kris. We’re here, praying for you all. xo

    1. Jennifer your prayers are a gift. Truly. Thank you for your encouragement, and the love. It is wild how God speaks to us! Living with the shade-open is the best–even as it is sometimes hard. I don’t ever want to go back to living in the dark.


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