Have you ever seen a new litter of kittens? Or puppies? Minutes or hours new? They have something in common; their eyes are fused shut. They don’t open for quite some time after birth; little ones move slowly and you can tell their uncertainty in their surroundings by their tiny whimpers or mews.
A newborn child is born seeing although it has limited sight at first. According to my dear hubster, our second son was born with one eye open and a wary expression on his face as if asking “who are you and why did you make me leave that warm place?”
Sight is a gift. A sense that may come perfectly formed in humans or in some cases not formed at all. There are also in between cases like me. It was discovered that I had severe myopia when I started school. I’m not sure what my parents thought about my squinting behavior before then but at the end of my kindergarten year I received my first pair of glasses. Learning to see with glasses meant I didn’t have to sit close to the TV or in the front row to see the chalkboard.
It was not the greatest time in history to be wearing glasses since not all that many children wore glasses when I was in elementary school. And those that did were teased big time. Oh well.
My parents sacrificed a lot for me as a teenager. I had braces and contacts at the end of my freshman year in high school. Learning to see with contacts was an adventure. Wind and sand were not my friends at the beach. Learning to surf meant no contacts which also meant no seeing. That and not balancing well shortened my surfer girl persona.
As an adult, I lost contacts waterskiing because I just couldn’t imagine hanging out in the ocean 100 feet behind the boat and not knowing when a shark was close by. Not too many sharks in Mission Bay near San Diego but between the coast and Catalina Island? Who knows?
Seeing is a gift that we most often take for granted. For years after the technology became available my Mom encouraged me to have Lasik treatment done. I was a big chicken. I didn’t want to be a statistic. I had kids to raise and what would I do? But in January, 2011 I decided I would have the procedure. I was scared for sure. Looking back on that day the most significant moment that stands out to me happened at the check in desk.
The receptionist was going through the post op with my husband when a woman in the waiting area came up to me. She laid her hand on my arm and told me how happy she was to be able to give her daughter the gift of sight. Random? Perhaps. But I also was finally doing what my Mom had encouraged me to do for so long and was able to afford it as a gift; part of my Mom’s estate.
The surgery was a success and I have lived two years without glasses for the first time since I was 6. Learning to see without aid was a re-training of my brain.
Learning to see ourselves as God sees us is a re-training of our brain as well. Paul tells us in his letter to the church in Rome “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Being changed from the inside out is instantaneous for some but for others is a process: a long, slow, learning to see.
Beth Moore wrote in her study Breaking Free: “You are not defined by anything that happened to you or anything you have done. You are defined by who you are in Christ.” Do you know who you are in Christ?
“…until the truths of our pasts converge with the truths of God’s Word, we will never be whole.” (from Breaking Free)
Learning to see.