Near Sighted And Far Sighted
February 20, 2020
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
~Colossians 3:1-2 (KJV)
When I was young, I couldn't see far away. No one, including me, knew that I couldn't see until fifth grade when my teacher asked me to solve the math problem on the blackboard. From the back of the classroom where I was sitting, the blackboard just looked black. There was no math problem on it. What was he talking about? A trip to the eye doctor and a pair of glasses later and my whole life changed. There were LEAVES on the trees! I didn't know I was supposed to see them individually while they were still on the tree. All my life they had just been green blobs. How exciting! I could read words on road signs in the distance. I could see the television without sitting right on top of it. Things that used to be shapeless blurs of color now had definition. Life was good. Then life got better.
In my adulthood they invented LASIK surgery. I read about it in this very newspaper back in 2001 and thought WOW, I can't believe such a thing is possible. After conferring with my husband, who can see just fine, I decided to do it. On July 3, 2001, I had LASIK surgery. It took all of 10 minutes. On minute 11, I could read the clock on the wall with MY OWN EYES! More wonders were about to be made manifest. That night when I woke up to roll over, I discovered that I could see things in the dark, too! What?? I could see the outline of the closet door and the dressers; I could see my alarm clock! I had a good time just staring at things in the dark. Before, when it was dark, there was just darkness. I didn't know it was possible to see in the dark, too! With my new eyes, I could now lay on the couch and watch TV and fall asleep without having to first take out contact lenses or position my glasses crooked on my face to accommodate a pillow. I'm still not tired of being able to see far away.
Here we are, almost 20 years later. My far away vision is still as sharp as ever, but thanks to middle age, my close-up vison is leaving me. All my life I could count on my trusty eyes to see tiny things up close. All my life I've enjoyed doing things up close: embroidery, needlework, reading, hand quilting, creating things. In fact, my goal in life is to be a hermit and do those things all day long without interference from the outside world. It's nice to be around people, but its also nicer for me to not be around people. I like my space, far away from others. Now that my nearsightedness is leaving me, I've been forced to buy reader glasses to do the things I've taken for granted. My eyes are aging naturally, just as the doctor told me they would.
It makes me wonder, do our eyes lose the ability to see things up close so that we are forced to look further than ourselves? Is it a clever, built in way for God to remind us that the older we get, the less time we have so we'd best get to it? Chop, chop! As I said, I would be happy to keep to myself, but now I can't see the things I like to do. Is this God's way of prodding me (and other experiencing middle age) to turn my (our) attention outward and focus on ways I (we) can serve others? It seems to be a natural inclination to keep more to ourselves as we age. Maybe we should be doing the opposite. Could our aging eyes be trying to tell us something? We, of the middle age crowd, are right at the cusp to stop turning inward and turn outward before the rest of our body starts to fail us too.
Colossians 3:2 reminds us to set our affections on things above, not things of this earth. I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of a reluctant servant. At my jobs, I am happy to serve, but when I come home, I want to hang up my servant hat and do what I want to do. Perhaps I need to be setting my affection above my wants. There's always room for improvement. What would God have me to do? What would God have you to do? Are we willing? What can we learn by looking at the examples of the apostles and their lives? Can we turn our eyes outward and find ways, big or small, to help others?
I shall leave you with these lines from "A Psalm of Life." by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait."