20/20 and seeing the real thing


After squinting at the board, my first grade teacher recommended to my parents that I take a trip to the eye doctor. If I remember correctly, the blurry word had been ‘shark’. Why I remember this but can’t remember to floss, I do not know, but lots of people recall strange pieces of childhood and lots of people have food stuck in their teeth, so I’m clearly not alone on either point. Only a few letters into the eye chart and my teacher’s suspicions were confirmed – I was in desperate need of glasses.
(This is one thing she got right. Read my former post for further explanation about her ‘unrightness’ when she dashed my rainbow dreams.)

I. Could. Not. Wait. I called the optometrist’s office everyday to ask if my new specs were ready. (Yes, I called them at the fresh age of 7. What kind of kid was I?) In my mind, wearing glasses would magically make me cool and this silly belief fueled my persistent inquiry, but you and I both know those heavy coke bottle lenses were FAR less than cool. Being only 7, I was blissfully unaware of this…for a few short days.

Had I known how wonderfully my binocular-grade eyewear would help me see, I might have called the eye doctor 3 times a day instead of only once. I had no idea everyone else could see more than 5 feet in front of them! So horribly near-sighted were my little peepers, I developed splitting headaches from reading with such a strong power and found myself wearing bifocals a year later. The cool factor was squashed for sure – annihilated, actually – so I cozied into the four eyes stereo-type by reading every book in the library and by shrugging and smiling through years of PE and comments like, “Geez, Michelle, the ball was right in front of you!”

Contacts in high school made my vision sharper AND gave the bridge of my nose a much-needed rest, but laser-correction as an adult gave me the eyesight of an eagle. I can see individual leaves on trees, signs far in the distance, and now I’m the one people come to when they drop something tiny on the floor.

While recently driving my youngest to the optometrist to pick up her first pair of glasses (it was inevitable), I had trouble explaining to her what corrected vision would be like.

“You’ll see a lot better.”
“Everything will be clearer.”
“Nothing will be blurry.”

These promises all sounded great to my sight-impaired little one, but she wouldn’t grasp the meaning of these statements or comprehend these ideas until the glasses were placed on her precious face. She wouldn’t fully understand “better” or “clearer” until she saw things clearly for herself.

I know Jesus and His unmatched love. I’ve experienced His forgiveness. Hope, freedom, peace – these are concepts I understand because my relationship with Jesus is real. But how could I ever adequately explain my faith or describe my relationship with Jesus by using only words? Words fall flat next to genuine, personal experience. Talking about (and yes, writing about) Jesus thrills me not simply because I want people to hear about Jesus or know things about Him. My true desire is that people would look for Jesus on their own – to see Him for themselves. That’s when personal faith starts to make sense. That’s when it becomes real.

I’ve dipped my toes into the turquoise water of Haiti’s Wahoo Bay, peered over the edge of the wide open Grand Canyon, and journeyed across the stones of Prague’s ancient Charles Bridge. Perhaps future posts will give you a glimpse of these fantastic places, but you’ll never fully realize the outrageous beauty until you witness it for yourself. With every post I attempt to explain the truths of Jesus Christ and His Word, but every feeble effort is sincerely made to point you toward Jesus. His love is impossible to explain. You have to see Him and know Him for yourself.


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