20/20 (With Astigmatism)
I had my eye exam recently. I was only a year late. The last time I was there the doctor asked me, “Can you see anything out of your left eye?!” The answer is yes, but barely. For one thing, there is a big mysterious scar through my field of vision on that eyeball, and that eye has always been the weaker of my two orbs of perspective. For those of you who understand lens prescriptions, my new lenses are +4.25, -1.75, xo65 add .75 on the left and just +1.50 add .75 on the right. In other words…I can’t really see much out of my left eye. Go figure. According to the optician who handled me when I tried on my new specs, I have an odd prescription. She warned me about my depth perception. Ya think?
The thing I wanted to think about today with regard to my eyes began with the doctor’s odd question, “Which eye do you use the most?” Isn’t that weird? I answered by saying. “I don’t know. Generally speaking, I use them both.” I mean, truly, when one eye is open, isn’t the other one?? Am I alone here? And let’s face it, if there is anyone in the world who might be likely to use one eye predominantly it might be someone with my lens prescription. But I would have to say with absolute certainty that 99% of the time if my right eyelid is up, so is the left one.
So that begs a question. What exactly do I see out of that poor, old, scarred, oddly-misshapen left eyeball? Well, I see the world with some distortions. Have you ever noticed that when you have to drive in the rain for any length of time your eyes get really tired? It’s because your eyes are trying to alternate between what they see close up on your windshield when it’s rain covered, and what they see at a distance beyond the windshield once your wipers have cleared the glass. If you have ever had the opportunity to sit in your car and wait for someone while it’s raining, you know that you can hardly stand to not run the wipers because your eyes don’t know how to focus on the rain washed windshield. If I had to explain to you what I see through my left eye without my glasses, that’s the best description I can give you. Unfocused. Uncomfortable. Seeing, but unseeing. Shapes without details. Wavy, watery distortions.
My right eye, on the other hand, aside from the degeneration of age, is mostly pulling its weight. Even without my glasses I could function pretty well and see pretty clearly, though it would induce a bit of strain after a while.
So what does this have to do with anything? Well, as I’ve given this some thought I have realized that it works pretty well to explain how some of us see life after our salvation. (Especially if you came late to the party, like I did.) We’ve got one eye that’s totally whack, and one eye that now sees pretty clearly, though it requires some effort (and possibly a headache). It might also help some of you who have to deal with the likes of me to be patient and realize that sometimes we do subconsciously use one eye more than the other. Sometimes we might need you to hand us our specs and tell us to focus.
As an application, my left eye is badly scarred, as is my life. There is a lumpy layer of flesh that had previously been flayed violently but has now healed. The nature of a scar is lost feeling; it’s no longer sore, but now it feels nothing at all. It’s tough. It’s thick. It’s unfeeling. It’s insensitive. It’s protective of that now hidden wound, and it runs through my field of vision, so to speak.
My left eye, having astigmatism, is deformed just as my life is. As I grew, I was shaped by people, circumstances, and information-input that molded me like a lump of clay and twisted the way I receive influence so that it misses the mark of true vision. In other words, my information receptor is way off center.
As I age, the additional insult to my poor left-eye vision, is that I can no longer see clearly up close and personal. Maybe in life I have just gotten more self- protective and want to keep others at arm’s length (or further). The scars and the continual miscommunication have just worn me out and I’d rather keep you way out there so I can avoid the strain of having you closer.
By contrast, my right eye is the Spiritual guide to my life. Through it, I see more clearly. I focus on-point and receive information as it is intended to be interpreted. There are no scars to obscure my view (the Lord Jesus bore them all) and I don’t see life through the threat of suffering. I am willing, and able, to draw you near, to see you clearly and focus on you entirely without distortion or tension
The problem, as you’ve already guessed, is that, both lids being up, I tend to use both eyes. You too? I think most of us do. And I think that’s the way God intended it. If we believe in His sovereignty, then we have to believe that we have perfect vision in both eyes. Surprised? Yeah, me too, even now as I talk to myself about this. But think about it with me. Who sees the world exactly like I do? No one (and you may thank God in your prayers later!). But my vision is not entirely unique either. Other people have had generally the same experiences, the same influences, the same information-input, and those things shaped their lives similarly to mine. Though not exactly the same, we still see the world through warped lenses. The only difference may be that I have one good eye (thanks to Jesus) that gives me perspective on what is a clear and true and right view of the world, and I can offer that to someone who can only see the rain on the windshield and not beyond it.
So back to the doctor’s question, “Which eye do you use the most?” Honestly, I would have to confess that it depends on the day and its events. Honestly, sometimes it’s a real strain to focus through my one good eye, even with my glasses on. Honestly, some days it’s easier to go around completely unfocused. And honestly, I think a healthy balance between the two is what makes me most effective for the kingdom. 20/20 is over rated.
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.