(She hadn’t noticed I was wearing a new pair of glasses until I mentioned them.)
I had gotten this pair the day before in the mail. The mail, you ask? Yes. I “tried on glasses” via a website, where I uploaded my photo, looked intently at frame specs (ha! see what I did there?), and made a decision — after deliberating for two months.
This is the fifth — and, my husband hopes, last — pair of glasses I have ordered online for my current prescription. Five. For me. In just over one year. I know, it sounds rather ridiculous that a person would need that many glasses. Four should be enough, right? The everyday pair, the polarized sunglasses, and a pair of reading (computer) glasses for home and a pair for work.
It’s just that the pair I originally chose for everyday use kept stretching out of shape and threatening to fall off my face if I looked down or sweated, which I make a practice of doing, apparently. I wanted a pair of beautiful, light, strong, hypoallergenic stainless steel frames that would flatter my face and hold up to the wear and tear my klutzy self likely will deal them.
I think I got them.
Actually, I know I got them. I have been wearing them.
My first full day with the glasses, I walked the stairs at work — which I do often to relieve my back from the torment of sitting in front of a computer all day — and then slipped outside to walk for a few minutes, smiling because I was so silly.
“Did you just go outside and walk after climbing the stairs?” the receptionist asked me when I returned. He was utterly amazed, of course, at my physical prowess.
I then confessed the purpose of my mini jaunt to the outside world: I just wanted to test my photochromatic lenses. The lenses are so clear when I’m inside I was afraid the manufacturer had made a mistake and sent me regular lenses. But to my delight, they turned dark outside in the sunlight (I took them off in the sun to check; I wanted to see their darkness rather than just see through their darkness) and became clear swiftly when I returned inside.
Amazing technology. I am not going to throw away my polarized sunglasses, mind you, but I will keep them in my car instead of my purse, trusting the photochromatic lenses to get me to and from the parking lot. No more awkward transitioning from one pair of glasses to another when walking from sunlight into store light. No more awkward wearing of sunglasses in the grocery store because I forgot my regular glasses in the car.
When I first started wearing glasses, I could see without them. Now, twenty years later, not so much. Just last week I had to have a friend open my locker at the health club when I returned from the shower, sans eyeglasses, because I couldn’t see the numbers on the combination lock. As much as I hate wearing glasses, I love being able to see.
Just this week I read a blog post by Alicia Bruxvoort in which she admitted rifling through her craft supply closet and using her hot glue gun to attach “googly eyes” and “wobbly watchers” to the salsa jar and the milk jug, tissue box, egg carton, and tubes of toothpaste. She wasn’t pulling a prank on her family; she was merely reminding herself that God was watching.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Alicia wasn’t gluing eyes on objects because Big Brother was watching and she was afraid. She did it because she wanted that positive reminder that God cared enough to watch over her and strengthen her for whatever tasks she faced in that moment — or in any moment.
I was thinking that these “four eyes” I wear nearly every waking moment of the day are an even better reminder for me: I need help to see clearly. Physically, yes, but also spiritually. I want to see what God sees, how He sees.
It’s rather like the difference between WYSIWYG and computer mark-up language. WYSIWYG stands for What You See Is What You Get and, in computing, means that what you see on the screen is very much how the actual web page or document will appear. Computer mark-up language, such as HTML (Hyper Test Mark-up Language), means you see the code that tells the computer to create headlines and subheads and add photos, etc. It isn’t as pretty, but it explains why the page or document appears as it does.
Too often I take what I see in life as what is really there — WYSIWYG — instead of trying to see what is behind or what is causing what is really there — the mark-up language.
My tendency is to look at what is visible. For instance, I look at outward appearances of people and act accordingly. Sometimes, for instance, I don’t reach out to people because they don’t appear to want to be approached. How might that be different if I could see their hearts, their hurts, their needs? Too often, I look at circumstances and lose heart; I may feel fearful or overwhelmed or incompetent. I may withdraw rather than act to make a difference. I see the visible and judge what I see — and then choose my actions.
God looks around but does not see things the same way I do; God looks at the heart. He sees everything differently (1 Sam. 16:7). What if I could see through God’s eyes, take on His empowerment, make a difference? I only see a dim reflection of what God sees (1 Cor. 13:12); though the Bible promises that one day I will see clearly. Meanwhile, I must live by faith, not by my limited sight (2 Cor. 5:7). I must ask God to help me see the “mark-up language” behind the WYSIWYG — and be willing to ask Him to help me see, to truly see, and trust Him to use me to make a difference.
The old adage is that hindsight is 20/20, generally the idea that we can look back on an event and see clearly what we should have done. Sometimes we get a second chance in which that hindsight can be put into action. (As Edmund Burke, who supported the American colonies in their fight with King George, said: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Having hindsight — and using it — can be beneficial.) I think foresight can be 20/20, too, but only when God is powering it. Just look at Scripture and see how correct the prophets of old were. (Bible scholars claim that Jesus Christ fulfilled at least 40 prophecies; some claim He fulfilled up to 400.) That is some mighty 20/20 foresight!
Likewise, couldn’t daily insight into life’s challenges — with God’s help — be 20/20 as well?
That is my hope. As I don my multiple pairs of glasses throughout the day — each playing its role in helping me see clearly — I want to use the act of putting on my physical glasses as a reminder to ask God to help me see clearly beyond what is visible. To get past the WYSIWYG to the code driving it. To get beyond 20/20 hindsight and have 20/20 vision going forward.