The one where you can see things close up, but not far away

Before I had my first pair of glasses, I was always squinting to see things that others could see with little to no effort. It wasn’t that I didn’t intentionally squint; no, my constant hours in a darkened room staring incessantly at the illuminated pixels dancing wildly in front of me got me quickly accustomed to that style of sight already. At the time before I had glasses, I just assumed that the world was blurry to everyone, and because I was doing well in school and didn’t complain about how blurry things were to anyone, it was assumed my eyes were just fine. It wasn’t until my first years in Washington, the summer after eighth grade, that I finally had my first eye test. After quickly noticing that I couldn’t read the oversized ‘E’ at the top of every eye chart (and only knowing it was an ‘E’ because it was always an ‘E’ on the top of every eye chart), decided it might be in my best interest to get a pair of glasses.

I will never forget the moment I put them on for the first time. I was perplexed, dumbfounded, overwhelmed. I kept exclaiming to my mom “I had no idea that this is what things were supposed to look like!” Signs were not only legible, but perfectly in focus for what seemed like miles away. I never noticed how many features were really on mother’s face before, or an old tire on a bus, or the stark beauty of the mountainous backdrop of Seattle.

Since then, the concept of vision has held a particularly dear importance to me, because I know the difference between sight and clarity,  perception and focus. I also know that without vision, life fades into a myriad of daily humdrum and weekly ‘same old, same old’ with no real desire to go anywhere, and less of a drive to change anything, because the beauty of the world only looks like a faded photograph, its colors weathered and worn, only giving a vague imitation of what things truly look like.

However, when someone has a very clear vision, it not only colors their life, but it brings a spark of drive to others around them. When there is something that one truly wants, something that one cannot live without seeing fulfilled, it shifts the atmosphere around them, and invokes destiny to become worked out in their daily paths to get them to where they want to be. And, of course, the more vivid the image, the more powerful the drive is to get them there.

I am not simply speaking of future goals, either. To want to have a lot of money isn’t enough to truly depict the image of the future, for it is only one part of a true vision; to be successful is convoluted and vague; to have a family is par for the course of most people’s lives. When people attain these goals, then what do they have left to achieve? Their vision is gone, and thus their drive either wanes or they choose a new thing to accomplish. This isn’t the kind of vision I’m talking about.

When God parts the veil of time, and shows us a piece of ourselves through His eyes…this is true vision. It has no deadline, it has no list of things to do, and yet, when we get just a piece of who we were meant to be through a lens infinitely larger than ours, and we can see ourselves as God sees us, even for a moment…that kind of vision becomes permanently branded onto our spirits, never to be washed out or faded by time or circumstance. Divine vision, divine design, divine inspiration…all this comes from a heavenly vision. It drives the heart to beat fast with unseen promises of fulfillment; it moves the hands and the feet to work with the utmost diligence to unfold the mystery of who we were meant to be. At this point we don’t see steps to take, or a life merely dictated by the checking off of a list…we see us, wielding destiny and shaping the kingdom of heaven through our lives.

I say that to say this…last weekend, I had some bad news come my way. It can’t be helped, it is life, after all. I ended up disappointed, deflated, and emotionally frayed. And it was in the moment of contemplation shortly afterwards I realized why people in the movies always flailed around after being blinded by something. I never truly understood their motives in swinging their arms violently, trying to find something to hold on to, especially if they were well aware of their surroundings and could have just calmly felt around. I felt the same way after hearing the news; I still had my vision, but it got temporarily blurred, and I found myself stumbling, frantically feeling around for anything familiar, even though everything was the same as it has always been.

However, the thing I love most about vision, is that while  sometimes the image can get blurry by things that happen to us, it is never the image that blurs, merely our perception of it. As soon as the dirt is out of our eyes, as soon as our lenses become clear, we see that God still sees us the same. And, because of this, I was able to get over it in a matter of days, and not weeks. Because I know what the clear picture is; I know a place that I am going to be someday. And no matter of dust on my glasses will keep me from losing my identity in Christ. And it never could, unless I forget what it means to see clearly.

I pity those without vision. Without true Vision penetrating their hearts and motivating their every step, how can they know what clarity is? Bouncing from person to person, vice to vice, day to day…these are the lost ones. They have no idea that the world isn’t as blurry as they think it is. They just need a new pair of glasses.

It really gives “Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart” a lot more…clarity.



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