I’ll confess, for a while I truly thought it was just my camera that was broken.
After all, I did drop it (which resulted in a GASP and maaaaybe a curse word from me) a few months ago while on vacation with my friends in San Diego. Strange ticking sounds emitted from my lens as I cranked the focus-ring around, trying to get a clear picture. After 10 minutes of sweaty panic, my camera started working again… mostly.
Just a few weeks ago, I experienced a strange sadness as I packed up my dear camera and shipped her off to be appraised and exchanged for a newer bigger camera. This old girl has been through a lot with me… three of my four years in college, seven weddings, two newspaper jobs, backpacking in the mountains, 49 days in Kenya, and numerous jaunts through the tall grass of meadows and orchards. She has recorded the faces and lives of not only my family and my dear friends, but of people who were in my viewfinder for only a moment. I’ll miss you, a lot.
(please excuse this horrid photo, when your camera is among the packing peanuts, one must resort to the phone camera… shudder!)
Even with a beautiful, completely unbroken camera in hand, I still couldn’t focus. What the heck? I know what I’m doing… I’m not a nincompoop… most of the time. Could it be my eyes?! Surely not, I’ve been 20/20 all my life! Medical forms have always a breezy cinch for me…no braces, no allergies, no prescriptions, and certainly no glasses… normal as normal gets. Well, there was one minor tangle with a mini-trampoline at the age of six that resulted in a broken elbow… but I will save my dashed hopes of Olympic glory for a later date.
With confidence in my complete normality quivering, I went to see Dr. Kim… gentle master of all things eye-related. She put a giant contraption up to my face, a few drops in my eyes and with a click, whirl, click… I could read the BOTTOM row (which I always thought was an unreachable visionary feat, there only to remind us of our mortal state).
It took a week for me to find just the right frames, and then two days more for Erik (the extremely kind and patient optometrist) to make and fit my lenses.
When I put my new glasses on last Wednesday, I almost puked. Details! A whole new world of beautiful details, and I could see them all!!
I feel a tiny bit like Mr. Black in the beautiful/sad/brilliant novel Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (which if you haven’t read, you must, but beware, you might cry… a lot). The main character, a little boy named Oskar, is over at his elderly neighbor’s (Mr. Black) apartment in New York City, and they decide to turn on Mr. Black’s hearing aides (which he turned off years ago).
“Do it slowly,” he said, almost like he was begging me. “It’s been a long, long time!”…
Then, out of nowhere, a flock of birds flew by the the window, extremely fast and incredibly close. Maybe twenty of them. Maybe more. But they also seemed like just one bird, because somehow they all knew exactly what to do. Mr. Black grabbed his ears and made a bunch of weird sounds. He started crying- not out of happiness, I could tell, but not out of sadness, either.
“Do you want me to turn them off?” I asked, but he wasn’t paying attention to me anymore. He was walking around the room, sticking his ears up to anything that made noise, including very quiet things like pipes. I wanted to stay there and watch him hear the world but it was getting late… I told Mr. Black that I would pick him up next Saturday at 7:00…
He said, “OK,” and the sound of his own voice made him cry the most.
Now that I can see properly, it makes me wonder about all the things I have been missing over the years. What photos have I not seen, and then not taken? What have I overlooked? What beauty have I missed?
It’s no coincidence that as the flaws in my physical vision were recognized, examined, and treated… God was examining the eyes of my heart at the same time. He always seems to do stuff like that with me, coinciding the physical with the spiritual. Double wammie!
For a long time I have operated as a “snippet Christian.” I pick and choose tiny little bits of scripture that I like, tote around a few select characteristics of Jesus that appeal to me, give a quick nod to the Holy Spirit when glacing at Acts, and generally disregard the rest. I could tell you in 5 seconds flat what John 3:16 says, but have not a clue about verses 15 & 17… let alone chapter 3, nor the whole Gospel of John. It’s like I’ve been living out my faith with beer-goggles on… I’m dizzy and sick of it. My heart has been stirring in heavy dissatisfaction for a while now, and, well… the pot just boiled over.
I want it all. I don’t just want the Jesus who died more than 2,000 ago… I want the Jesus who was with the Father at the beginning, who dwelled among us, and who will come again in glory too bright to look at. I don’t just want the Father who was (in my clouded eyes) a big warring meanie in the Old Testament… I want the Father who breathed humanity into being, has never to this day stopped fighting for us, desiring us, and making a way for us to come home. I don’t just want the Holy Spirit who landed on Jesus like a dove… I want the Holy Spirit that hovered over the water before creation, that blew like a mighty wind and filled the people at Pentecost, the Power that raised Jesus from the grip of death, and the great Counselor that resides in my soul.
And I want the living Word. I don’t just want the 23rd Psalm, Romans 5, or John 3:16… I want the WHOLE book! I want to know why every book was written, who wrote it, and to whom it was written. I want to understand God through the ages, I want to see His hand through history, to this moment, and beyond. I want the scriptures engraved upon my heart, to know, that I know, that I know what my God has said.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
This will take a long time. The Word is rich, and fathomlessly deep. I have, at best, 70-ish years left on this earth. Lord, help me to use this time well. Set in me an unquenchable thirst for the Word, born out of an inextinguishable yearning for you. Open the the eyes of my heart Lord, and strap on my divine-cardiac-spectacles when the way becomes unclear.
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better. 18
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
May I be remembered as a woman who knew her God, and was known by Him… even if they call me Four-Eyes.