Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Most blogs I (Ginger) write I usually wait until I am finished to title them. Not this time. I have been thinking on this subject - vision - all week. It has been the topic in our home for several reasons. In the physical world and the spiritual as well. Physically speaking, my eyesight is poor. For those of you that wear glasses, my prescription is now -9.00! The optometrist said I had 20/1200 vision. Yikes! I really can't see two feet in front of my face. My nearsightedness has just been my own little way of life. I remember getting my first pair of glasses when I was 7 years old. I walked outside looked at a tree and honestly never had seen all those individual leaves! Trees always looked more like big green blobs on brown trunks, like the ones you draw when you're a kid. What a difference a little better perspective makes! From that day on I have never been without glasses or contacts. Until tomorrow. I am going in for PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) or also known as Surface Ablation. Sounds painful, doesn't it? I am trying not to think on that part but the part where I can open my eyes and see something past the end of my nose.
I have had many funny stories related to my uncommonly poor eyesight. In junior high before I got contacts, I became very self-concious about wearing glasses. I just hated them but desperately had to wear them so there wasn't an option to take them off when I didn't need them. I always needed them. As a kid, this caused me great strife in the summer because summers involve swimming. My little stick body AND big glasses just didn't help me be the beach babe I so longed to be. So I would occasionally ditch the glasses (nothin' I could do about the stick body) while swimming and laying out poolside. At school on Monday friends would say, "You are so stuck up Ginger! I waved at you at the pool and you just stared at me!" I never even saw them. Ha. My plan backfired. But I gave it one more shot. Every summer our big family goes to a campground in West Texas for our annual Wiman Family Reunion. Some of my very best childhood memories were made at these fun reunions. Well, the summer after my eighth grade year we made the trek to Camp Butman and lo and behold there was another camp there! One with boys in it. Even better one with boys we weren't related to! My girl cousins and I decided we would "take a walk" and check out the other campground. We found some cute boys in the distance. For some reason I got the brilliant idea that I would try to meet them without glasses on. I found my way to them and I remember us all sitting under the pavillion talking and flirting. I became interested in a nice boy. Wish I could remember his name. We might have held hands but I am not sure. My cousin, Julie, would remember. I will have to ask her. Anyway, the lovely afternoon passed. We saw (actually HE SAW - I still took off my glasses and shoved them in my pocket if he came near) each other after breakfast the next morning and exchanged addresses to be pen pals. This whole plan of mine worked out peachy. The only hitch was I really wasn't quite sure what he exactly looked like! We wrote back and forth a little. And I enjoyed my summer crush. But something was always missing in the relationship. I guess that something might have been that had I seen him someday with my glasses on I would not have been able to pick him out in a crowd. And I guess he probably wouldn't have recognized me, wearing thick glasses, either! Talk about a blind date!
That humorous yet pitiful story reminds me of all of us here on earth. We do not see clearly. We only catch a glimpse of God's face. We see a little bit of what He is doing but not the big picture. I believe He knew we would struggle with seeking answers to unanswerable questions. For Jim and I the question of why he took Andrea and Troy will always be the big one. But for others the questions revolve around illness, abuse, loneliness, depression, the loss of a dream or even a child. I think the Lord knew we would struggle without answers and without His physical presence. He left us with the Holy Spirit and the command;
II Corinthians 5:7
"Walk by faith, not by sight."
God knew this would be the most difficult thing for us to do. Though we wrangle over the hardest questions of why God lets bad things happen to His people, He still tells us to trust Him. Easier said than done until the Master (I love how Auntie Faye refers to God with this title) personally asked me to do that. Jim and I know we may never, this side of heaven, understand His divine plan or get answers to our questions. Things are really blurry from our perspective. In fact, how all of us can see our situations is not always accurate because we look at them through our own filters of grief, lenses of bitterness and the nearsightedness that comes with not trusting in the Lord's promises. Believe me I have been there. Feeling so much that my life was over after Troy died that I prayed for months and months that the Lord would just take me and the kids home to heaven too. But just like I did with that boy at summer camp, we are asked to sit there and have fellowship and relationship in spite of our "blindness". We are still called to lay our lives and our troubles at the Lord's feet and then when He walks we follow, blindly but trusting. Even when He walks us down a road we don't want to traverse (like illness or death of a loved one) or on foreign territory we know nothing about (like being a new spouse or a new parent in the middle of life) we must hold onto God tightly and march on.
Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them."
Psalm 121:3 "He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber."
What awesome promises to us spoken by the Lord Himself!
Troy and I had planned on me having this corrective eye surgery done right after he got back from Iraq. Obviously things changed and now over a year later I am finally going in. I have to say I am a little nervous tonight. But I am trusting my eyes to my doctor and of course to my Great Physician, Christ.
Jim said, "Won't it be amazing to see again?". And I responded with, "Actually it will be seeing for the first time!"
My eyes aren't the only ones in the family getting some attention this week. Boston (10 1/2) just got glasses for the first time yesterday. He failed his school eye exam and then when I asked him about it he told me he hasn't seen the board well since the 4th grade! Boys! I rushed to get him in and sure enough he has some of my eye genes. Boston, being my child that cares the most about his appearanc and his athletics, he is not happy about wearing glasses. He looks super cute in them and I know he can see better now. Change is a hard thing for all of us though.
While I was in the optometrist's office with Boston, I noticed one of those motivational prints on the wall. The bottom quote read:
"Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be."
I like that saying ALOT. Over the last almost two years since Troy died, I have struggled with being so overwhelmed with sadness in my present state that I could not imagine life ever being good or worthwhile again. Life is good and worthwhile again. But the road ahead is still uncertain for all of us. We don't always know what our next step should be to unify our new family. We don't know where the places, both physically and spiritually, that the Lord will take us to this upcoming year.
The vision we have, as Christians, is often cloudy but we have to have the vision of the future that He will take care of us when we ask and that He will walk with us when we stand alone, or afraid, or at a crossroads in life. Until we join Him in eternity. Where there will be no night, no tears, no death, no crying, no pain forevermore.
How awestruck Troy and Andrea must have been when they saw everything clearly for the first time! The Lord must have told them why they were put on earth, what His purpose was in their deaths and where He was taking those of us they left behind. What a glorious day that must have been!
For now, I hope to celebrate the small victory of not needing glasses to find my way to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Remind me to tell you about the time one night when I accidently mistaked a bottle of rubbing alchohol for a bottle of water. They don't taste the same I can promise you.
Posted by Jim Ravella