I got new glasses today.
I’ve worn glasses since third grade, when my teacher told my parents that she didn’t think I could see the board and the overhead and everything else at the front of the room. Over twenty years later, I am still impressed that she picked up on that; I thought I could see just fine. My parents took me to the doctor, though, and he confirmed what Ms. Brosier had suspected. I was fitted for my first pair of glasses.
Today, when I picked up another new pair of glasses, I had a flashback to the feeling of putting on that first pair of beige, plastic rimmed specs. I put the lenses on and, in a moment straight out of a sci-fi movie, experienced a radical shifting of the entire universe. What I had thought was close was even closer. What I had thought was far away seemed further, somehow, yet closer. And the floor…well, let’s just say the floor has never been shaped like that before.
In third grade, when I experienced “corrective lenses” for the first time, I was convinced that I had done something wrong. I had answered one of the questions on the eye exam incorrectly, obviously, because this was NOT an improvement on how my eyes had worked before. “I can see better without these crazy things, thank you very much!” As I walked out of the mall, I remember feeling panicked because my parents were insisting I continue wearing the glasses, even though what I was seeing was foreign and couldn’t be right.
Today, I had a similar experience. Every time my vision is “corrected,” it feels all wrong. The reality is that I have become so accustomed to incorrect vision that when it is corrected, it seems screwed up and wonky. I’ve looked at things blurry and with inaccurate depth perception for so long that when I see things the way I am supposed to see them, it is weird. It seems wrong. My eyes hurt for awhile and it scares me a little. I never realized anything was wrong with what I was seeing before, and the “correction” doesn’t seem better in any way. I’d rather go back to what I had before, thank you. This new vision…well, it feels weird and I don’t like it.
As a follower of Christ in this crazy world, I think I daily have to undergo a correction in my vision, though not of my physical eyes like I did this morning. Every day, as a professed Christian, I have to put on new spiritual eyes – new lenses on the eyes of my heart, if you will – and allow my vision to be corrected. I have to allow Jesus to change the way I see the world.
Make no mistake. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t think anything is wrong with the way my heart sees. (My eyes…well, yes. As I grope around my night table for my glasses, I remember with astonishing clarity that my eyesight is not 20/20.) I get up…begin my day…make my coffee and reprimand the cat for weaving in and out of my feet. I do what I do, with little thought as to how I am thinking or acting. And then I sit down with my Bible, pull out my journal, grab my pen…and somehow, radically, my perspective changes. My world rocks from side to side for a minute as I realize that the way I was seeing…well, it just wasn’t the way things really are. It seemed normal, yes, but that doesn’t mean it was right. It doesn’t mean it was real.
All of a sudden, the eyes of my heart are seeing through lenses fashioned by the Creator and perfected for me by the cross.
Admittedly, it doesn’t feel right at first. Remember, I never thought anything was wrong with the way I was seeing before; someone else has to point out that my perspective is out of whack. When they are replaced, the new lenses don’t seem right. It is awkward and unclear. It feels like it’s better suited for someone else. Things look weird and it actually hurts a little to look at my life through the new eyes.
But I have to remember, too, that what has become normal is not necessarily right.
In third grade, a few weeks after getting that first pair of glasses, I remember feeling the necessity of those lenses. The prescription was weak (nowhere near what it is now), but I had come to realize that without those lenses, I could not make it safely through the day. I couldn’t read signs…I couldn’t see the chalkboard…I might have missed my bus stop. What had seemed all wrong just a few weeks prior was, all of a sudden, the only obvious answer.
And so it is with my spiritual eyes. Yes, it’s painful to look through the eyes Jesus gives me. It requires looking away and back again, refocusing on the way things are. It requires radical adjustment to what I see, allowing time for reorientation to the world as it really is.
Eventually, though…eventually, my heart adjusts to the new prescription, and life is again in focus. The way I was seeing is just obviously not right. Likewise, in a few days, I’ll pick up my old glasses (the ones I was wearing just this morning) and will be astonished at how I was seeing the world before. My eyes will have adjusted, and I’ll know with certainty that these new lenses are right.
So today, I’ll stumble a little. I’m blinking more than normal as I type this, trying to focus on the screen through my new eyes. But my heart…well, it’s seeing just fine. It seems that way, anyway, until Jesus again gets hold of those eyes and again focuses my point of view on the cross.
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” (John 9:11)
Journeying with you,