Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20/20

I have wonderful vision. To me that was normal.

I could see clearly, in exquisite detail, even at considerable distances. I observed that I saw highway signs before anyone else seemed aware of their existence much less their content but did not think beyond that to any of its implications. 

Examining intricate stamps or coins has been a pleasure that required no aid.  Bring on fine print – no problem.  I gave no thought to simple tasks of reading, sewing, and being aware of all my surrounding near, far and in-between.

I had no problem seeing animals several miles away on the ranch when I was growing up. While riding, if my father said, “Mr. Soandso’s cow is at such and such a place,” or  “has a calf laying nearby” I could see the brand or markings to observe he was correct and confirm if the calf was moving and what color it was. I could tell if the motion on a far slope was an antelope or deer, and if the bird gliding on the updrafts over the hillsides was an eagle or a hawk and what it had picked up in its talons after a sudden swooping dive. 

I also could thrill to the texture of the tiniest parts of flowers or stones, fur and feathers or even the varied bits of soil that clung to uprooted weeds, crumbled away from rushing waters or flipped aside for scurrying insect legs. My mother noted such things and taught me to look for the barbed structure of a feather, the glinting texture on moth or butterfly wings, the subtle structural parts of leaves or grasses and such things as the translucent wonder and never ending changes reflected by so many different creatures’ eyes.

She taught me how their eyes did not see the way mine did but I took it for granted that most people’s eyes saw pretty much the same. I knew some people needed glasses to help them see better but comprehending the complex dynamics that entailed was significantly beyond my ability and experience.

I now admit I thought a lot of people made a lot of fuss about eye care and glasses and felt a bit blessed that I didn’t need to – and yes I admit to vision snobbery.

Somewhere near age 50 a radical change began.  My arms held objects a bit farther away and I liked to have stronger light and …
and then my arm got too short.

RIDICULOUS! My life became ridiculous – and continues to get worse. Reading became work and somewhat tiresome – but I love to read so I got reading glasses.  Now I have to have the right pair to even see across the room – and a much stronger pair to do handwork.  I just don’t do much of it anymore – and there is little pleasure in needing to set up a production to look at a single stamp or coin – such things now fall into the category of ‘time consuming hobbies’.

All this to say, wow – did you ever consider all the things your body does without you needing to consider it is doing it?  And what about the eyes or ears or limbs that other people have that do not do what yours can do?

If I wore earplugs for a shopping excursion or to watch TV would I appreciate the difficulties my husband has every day or at least become more aware of how irritating a hearing aid can be? What if I had to hear everything in my world through my cell phone's speakers? – YIKES!

If I put on dark smudged glasses and went to the library or watched a movie could I learn greater patience for those that are sight impaired?

Recently I suggested a family home evening lesson to my daughter.  If specific injuries, diseases or handicaps were assigned (or randomly drawn) for each family member and they agreed to the limitations of that assignment for several hours – like through a day, an afternoon, or even just a couple hours of specific activity time – what would result? 

I suggested things like casting an arm or leg, blind folds, or the earplugs as well as invisible things like heart disease, diabetes, or allergies.  Each would receive some instructions about their limitations and during a discussion time all would be free to notice additional difficulties they might think could be faced or ways to overcome the limitations.  The family would then try to help all family members to participate fully in the activities of the day.

Near the end of June as I weeded, walked, and worked in my home and yard I became acutely aware of the movements of my muscles – especially in the leg that would have a surgical procedure on 2nd July. I carefully considered many things I would not be able to do and made sure I had prepared activities that might be pleasant ways to while-a-way a few hours or days. 

Almost a month has passed. I haven’t done anything.  Looking at the light and shadows has been sufficient entertainment some days. Physical Therapy and personal hygiene marathons make watching the back of my eyelids a pleasant option.

Do you know that standing is a pleasure, that sitting on a chair (or any other place)  is a thrill or that being able to ride in a car as it bumps along the street is to be treasured?

How many things can you see 20/20?  How long since you noticed you are able to walk, eat, hear, talk, dress, think, learn or feel? Yes, even feeling is a privilege – it is so much better than being numb.

Each day I notice new things to be grateful for.  I am especially grateful for people – friends, family, medical staff, and even complete strangers that are encouraging or courteously considerate. I am so happy to have educational opportunities, clean water to drink, delicious food to eat, and loved ones to share it all with.

And I know the reality of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing greater than that. There are so many without so much.  I am rich! I am blessed - I am in awe! My vision is so much better than it has ever been. 

How's yours?

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