Originally published Monday, 17 June 2013.
I spent two decades of my life dependent on eyeglasses and contact lenses. Twenty years. That’s 7,300 mornings of reaching for prescription frames upon planting my sock-covered feet on the bedside floor.
Then one morning, I opened my eyes, and I could see. I half-expected it — but then again, I really didn’t.
The previous day, I had treated myself to unaided sight, thanks to the incredible technology of laser surgery.
Just hours after my operation, my vision was still quite blurred, mostly from excessive tearing. I felt a bit like the blind man from the gospel of Mark:
“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:22-26).
In those first 24 hours at home, the men still looked like trees walking.
It was during this time that I thought about how this world is merely a shadow of what is to come. We may think we are seeing clearly now, but we are given only a glimpse of the whole picture. We think we know what beauty is now, but in truth, we know not a fraction of it.
Our family recently moved from South Africa to Michigan. On our final flight, as we soared at cruising altitude, we were encompassed by clear blue skies. Looming just below our aircraft, however, was a dense expanse of winter clouds. During our descent, we had to leave the glorious happy blue behind, pass through the clouds and land in the shadows below.
Those on the ground had no idea what lay above that thick blanket of grey. All they could only see was dreary and overcast — a bit like us, now. We fail to see what is above, what lies ahead, what awaits us in the world to come.
I am reminded of the following quote by C.S. Lewis:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis
Now, in this life, we go about making mud pies, and do so quite contentedly. Yet the Lord offers us so much more. He offers us more than the ability to see men as though they are walking trees.
For those who believe, and who put their trust in Him alone, He offers paradise. He offers Himself.
One day, we will be able to see with perfect clarity.
I long for the day when I will be able to see without hindrance, to see the glory of the Lord in His dwelling place, to bask in His majesty and magnificence.
I imagine that my mom had a similar, though far more rewarding experience. The twelve hours before she died were spent in a Hospice bed, eyes closed, in a restless sleep. A bit of thrashing near the end, and then … she opened her eyes to eternity.
And she could see.
“I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
(John Newton, Amazing Grace)