Monday, February 28, 2011

Glasses

I'm sitting in my living room with a baying dog.  She's literally howling at the moon as though she could see it this time of day.  See, E took the Big Lug to the vet for what is technically called "a goopy eye."  And Jamaica can't handle it.  Absolutely cannot handle being left at home while he got to get in a car and go for a R.I.D.E.  There oughta be a law.  Not to mention a law for my poor ears.  Fortunately, she's more likely to obey me than just about anyone, so now she's just pouting.  Facing the window, pawing at it, and pouting, like we did this just to torture her.  Which, of course, we did.

That, however, is not what this post is meant to be about, and hopefully, if I can keep the baying at bay, so to speak, I'll be able to hear myself think well enough to write it.

When I was at the eye doctor last week, I got to choose new glasses, which is always a treat, though, unfortunately almost always happens with completely dilated eyes, so that one has to lean about 2 inches away from a mirror to actually see what they look like on one's face.  I do pretty well without glasses, actually, but not with them dilated.  There's a flaw in the system that has us picking out an apparatus that will allow us to see, one that will always be on our faces, without actually being able to see clearly enough to do the picking.  But I began thinking about my long history with glasses afterwards (and, with the help of the technician and Beve, I think a fairly good choice was made, though I won't know for sure until next week).

When I was in middle school, for some absolutely unfathomable reason (to my fifty-three-year-old self), I thought it would be 'fun' to have glasses.  My older brother and younger sister both had them, and I wanted to look...I don't know, more intelligent? I can't remember.  So during a school eye exam, I actually claimed to see less than I actually could, not a lot less (I didn't want to make it obvious, after all), just a little less.  So I was hurried off to an eye doctor, where I repeated the procedure adequately enough to get my first pair of glasses.  And...not surprisingly, the wearing of these glasses was difficult.  Made my head ache and my eyes squint to see clearly through them.  It wasn't long before I 'lost' those glasses--actually, at a rodeo, where I 'accidentally' dropped them in some sawdust in a barn.  Then I had to 'fess up to my parents, not only that I'd lost them, but that I didn't think I really needed to get another pair.

By the time I was in college, though, I did get glasses.  My mother'd grown tired of mentioning that I was closing an eye to read, and I realized that the difference between my eyes was significant. It was determined then that I have one near-sighted and one far-sighted eye.  So I got glasses.  However, oddly enough, I couldn't tell the difference between having them on and not.  So I rarely wore those glasses either.  Finally, about ten years ago, the difference between my eyes had grown large enough that I began having trouble focusing.  That is, whenever I had to switch focus from near to far, I couldn't see anything.  It was VERY aggrevating.

So I got glasses, with a prism in them, which helps with that focusing problem.  And suddenly, FINALLY, glasses began to work. They made sense.  I can actually see better with them than without, at least if I put them on first thing in the morning, and keep them one (though I have been known to forget, leave the house, and never notice).

But here's the interesting thing: when I first began wearing glasses fulltime, I was extremely conscious of them.  I spent a lot of time looking at them.  That is, they'd be on my face, and I'd be very aware of the edges of the frames, the smudges on the lenses, the differences between the lenses and everything around them.  It took me a while to ignore the glasses and simply use them to see through, to allow them to become part of my eyes and look at the world through them.

And it seems to me that this is something we do with our faith.  We go to church, Bible studies, small groups, etc, and we spend an inordinate amount of time looking at our faith.  Looking at what prayer is, what sanctification means, how grace works, when to forgive.  The list is endless.  We stare unendingly at all these facets of our relationship with Christ--over and over and over. But...then do we actually, simply, completely allow our faith to become such a part of us that we stop seeing it, and simply look at all the world through it?  Christ in us is the lens through which we see all of humanity, keeps us from walking into walls, and stumbling over our own sin.  God knows--He absolutely, utterly knows--I have no problem studying scripture.  So don't take me wrong.  But I also know that without putting what I learn into practice makes all that study merely academics, no different than studying physics, for example.  And that (no matter what physicists might say!) will not change your life, nor anyone else's.  It does no good to study Him, if we don't wish to be changed by Him, nor to change the world by His work in us.

So put on your glasses of faith, and walk into the world boldly, extending His Kingdom because you alone--of all you rub shoulders with--can see to do it.

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