Sunday, October 5, 2014

To See or Not to See. The Choice is Mine.

I was sixteen when I learned that trees had individual leaves; at least, ones visible from more than a few feet away. I literally gasped in wonder when I put on my first pair of glasses and watched wide blobs of green become defined, distinct, individual shapes that waved and fluttered in the wind.  Having been nearsighted since childhood, I'd grown up unaware that the world was anything other than one huge, smeary blur.  

In an instant my faulty perception changed, and suddenly houses had windows, teachers had faces, and almost everyone I knew had strands of hair. My whole way of seeing was altered. I was able to see things as they really were - not merely as I’d imagined them.

In spite of such sudden clarity, however, I did not wear my new glasses regularly.  Having glimpsed the marvels of clocks with numbers and billboards with words, I usually found myself choosing the same old blurry life I’d become accustomed to over the years.  Why?

Mostly because I was concerned with “what people would think.” Allowing myself to be seen in spectacles?  It wasn't a pleasant prospect. I let vanity and self-concern keep me from interacting with life as it really was.

In addition, some part of me was simply comfortable with the same old blur. “The blur” was all I'd known. To realize that things were not actually as I’d perceived them was an adjustment. 

Besides: if I saw the time on a clock, I would have no excuse if I were late for class. If I could read what Mr. Miller wrote on the blackboard, my conscience might nudge me to tackle an Algebra problem. In a very real way, I didn't want to handle too much reality, too fast. 

Learning to see as God wants us to see is, in effect, like putting on a pair of glasses. The lenses of Scripture and Church teaching bring into focus the reality of things as they are.  They correct misconceptions we might have held, perhaps for so many years that we hadn't realized they even were misconceptions.  They challenge us to "not worry"… "love your enemies"…. "sin no more"...."do not lay up for yourselves an earthly treasure"……

I find myself faced with a choice as I write this. Will I put on the lenses God has prescribed for me..... or not? Maybe I'm willing to look at a few things through them, but what about some of those "tougher" issues. 

Am I so comfortable with the same old blurry way of looking at things that I find Our Lord’s words threatening?  

Am I so concerned about “what people think” that I'm reluctant to be seen as someone who takes Scripture and Church teaching seriously?

I can look at life as the secular world tells me to, or I can use the prescription God has clearly written out for me. 

Rx: "Grille Eyes."  The corrective lenses of Scripture and the teachings of the Church.  

To see or not to see. The choice is mine.

Georgios Jakobides painting, digitally altered


  1. I used to hate wearing my glasses too and ended up getting contacts. Because I was vain and because I hated being called "four eyes" by other kids.

    This was a wonderful post, Nancy, and one I could well relate too. Loved, loved, loved the Rx and the expression "Grille eyes". This made your point so clear!

  2. And the glasses? Lol! Priceless!

    1. Thanks, Mary! There were no soft contacts in "my" day, and getting adjusted to the hard kind was a big deal. Painful! I tried them for about three weeks, and it was like having pebbles in my eyes. I finally gave up and went back to not seeing except in classes (sometimes) and movies (sometimes) and driving (no choice there). It wasn't until my first year of marriage, and needing glasses for the job I had, that I started actually "seeing" full time! Ah, the dreadful price of vanity.........

  3. Love this Nancy..Really great post .. thought I was the only one who forfeited my glasses in 3rd grade :- ) All for vanity's sake. My dad didn't let me get contacts till high school. But today, as you say, "Will I put on the lenses God has prescribed for me?" or just deal with the blurriness of 'my own sight' ? Always so much to think of here. And I love the glasses too. +


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