Posts Tagged ‘perception

25
Jan
22

Clarifying

I remember the first time I got glasses.

I was in my mid-teens… maybe 14 or 15.

Up until that moment, I was pretty satisfied with my view of the world. I mean, sure, there were times when I mistook a “Q” on a street sign for an “O” or a “D.” Or when I had to really squint to see the names of the flavors at the Helen Hutchley’s ice cream store. 

Otherwise, I felt as if I saw the world around me with enough clarity to navigate the tasks of a typical teen’s day.

And so, when mom piped up one day and said, “Rusty, I think we need to go get your eyes checked,” I was mildly miffed.

“Why?” I asked, barely concealing my annoyance. “My eyes are fine.”

And if you are a glasses-wearer yourself, you know how the rest of this story goes. After enduring all the tests at the optometrist’s office and finally being fitted with my first pair of dorky glasses, I was absolutelyDUMBSTRUCK! I believe the first words out of my mouth when I put them on were, “Holy CRAP!” earning me an instant reprimand from both of my folks.

I simply could not believe how much clearer the world around me was. It was a true night and day difference! Several times I pulled the glasses off, put them back on, and pulled them off again, just to experience the astonishing before-and-after contrast. 

I was similarly amazed at how accustomed – and accepting – I had become to my prior, blurred view of life. 

And today, as I count off yet another trip around the sun, I am reflecting on how many times since then I have had that exact, same experience. 

Not with my VISION, but with my PERCEPTION

How many times – I wondered – have I gradually accommodated one way of seeing the world? How easy has it been for me to say over the years, “The way I am seeing the world right now is FINE! I don’t need to test it! Go away!”

And then how many times have I met a loving – or maybe just a persistent and forceful – voice saying, “No. You need some correction. Come. Let’s get you some help.” [Except later, that loving/persistent voice called me “Russell” instead of “Rusty.”]

You would be correct to say, “That’s what spouses are for!” You would also be correct to say, “That is what a connection to the Living God is for!”

The truth is, every one of us can fall prey to one of these four, common vision-distorting syndromes in our lives.

  • MYOPIA. Or near-sightedness. That is, seeing only the things that are closest to us and ignoring anything beyond our immediate environment.
  • HYPEROPIA. Or far-sightedness. This is the polar opposite of myopia. It means seeing everything except that which is right there in front of your nose. 
  • PRESBYOPIA. No. This does not refer to the eyesight of Presbyterians. It is the age-related diminishing of clear eyesight. You will know that presbyopia is involved when you hear the phrase, “Well, we’ve always done it that way, and it’s been fine.”
  • ASTIGMATISM. My optical guide defines astigmatism as, “… a condition marked by an irregularly shaped cornea. This irregularity impacts the way light is focused on the retina, causing distorted, blurred vision across all distances.” As you well know, the cornea is the outermost layer of the eye. In that sense, it is the gatekeeper of all light that you encounter. And when your gatekeeper is out of whack, everything else is, too.

As it turns out, the Bible has a couple of great things to say about the importance of good optical health. The writer of Proverbs said, “Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” (Proverbs 26:12, NRSV). Sort of speaks to that whole “fallibility of perception” thing, doesn’t it?

Later, Jesus said this: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34, NRSV). 

As I scan the calendar, I see that it is just about time for my annual eye exam. While I’m at it, do you think I could also find a place to schedule a perception check-up? 

Abundant blessings;




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