Today I had the delightful experience of getting my eyes dilated during a routine exam. My first thought when the optometrist brought out the eye drops was, “I’m so going to rock the plastic shades the rest of the day.” Even now, four hours later, I’m wearing them to shield myself from the glare of the computer screen. While this is not the first time I’ve had this procedure completed, I’m always surprised at just how sensitive I become to light sources. The first words I sputtered to my husband once I got home were, “It burns…” Realizing that for the next two to four hours he would be married to a vampire, he drew all the shades and only made sparing jokes at my unusually large pupils.
The irony here is that my typical preference is to be surrounded by light. I love living in the bright sunny weather of the Carolina coast. I enjoy being outside and sitting in the sun. Even inside, I can always find a sunbeam to curl up in. But today, all it took were two tiny droplets of serum to make me despise, at least temporarily, what I normally find comforting. Sitting on the couch all afternoon, I realized how different the world looks through compromised lenses.
While there is a scientific process to explain the sense of sight and vision, I believe there are lenses which are not located within the eye that also affect the way we see and process the world. Often on celebratory days like birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries our surroundings seem brighter and more beautiful. Likewise, on days that leave us feeling bogged down, be it from work, family drama, or some other form of conflict, what we usually find beautiful instead seems to taunt and mock us. The physiology and process of the eye has not changed, but the condition of the heart has, and the lens through which we process the world becomes compromised.
Adoption leaves us with a slew of new lenses to try on at various stages of the process. While announcing plans to friends and family, we enjoy the lens of anticipation which blinds us from the many dangers and complications we may face down the road. When submitting paperwork, we experience the lens of relief which brings responsibilities unrelated to adoption back into focus. When we receive bad news or realize our timelines have extended, the lens we experience is apathy. This lens keeps us from seeing the problems of others and quickly dismisses the successes of those we love. Often we, as adoptive parents, seem to be in a reality of our own, with our perceptions directly correlated to the progress and condition of the current stage of our adoptions.
Matthew 6:22-23 states that “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” This verse could not be any truer for me. My perspective on many things has changed for the better. For example, the things I used to lose sleep over I am now able to see as trivial. If I’m too busy to trim my hedges or wash my car or work out or eat organically, it’s okay because that time is better spent bringing Desi home. My perspective has admittedly had a turn for the worst in weak moments, however. Just a few short days after learning that we would not be bringing Desi home in 2016, I was in a parent teacher conference with a family I dearly love, but my compromised heart kept thinking, “Really? This is the biggest problem in your life right now? That your daughter has a ‘B?’ My son is in an orphanage 6,000 miles away. I win.” This complete lack of sympathy was in no way intentional, and I look back at that day with so much regret. I’m grateful that God has enlightened me to this temptation and that my friends and family have bestowed so much grace to me in these hard moments. While we can all look at these feelings of entitlement and apathy as understandable, we should not allow ourselves to become blind because of them.
If you feel that you have become blind to the many blessings in your life due to hardship, remember that God’s love for you never ends and that his mercies are new every morning (Lam. 2:22-23). A friend of mine, who suffers from a chronic illness, has made it a point to write ten things she is grateful for in a journal every single day, regardless of whether she has had a good day or not. Over time, the lens through which she saw the world became less reliant on her circumstances and more dependent on her gratefulness to God. God is always good, and he never changes. What better way to see the world than through eyes that focus in on God’s blessings in our lives and in the lives of others.
Verses to Consider:
Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! –1 SAMUEL 12:16
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. –PSALM 27:4
Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. –PSALM 119:18
The Lord gives sight to the blind. –PSALM 146:8
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. –LAMENTATIONS 2:22-23
A Prayer for Your Day:
Lord, I pray that you would allow me to see the world through your eyes this morning. If there are scales blinding me to the many blessings of my life, let them fall from my eyes so that I might be able to worship you more effectively (Acts 9:18). If there are people I have brushed off because of my own pain, help me to seek them out and to ask their forgiveness. When I am distracted or in pain waiting for [child’s name], help me to grieve worshipfully without allowing my whole being to become wrapped up in this temporary circumstance. God I praise you that your mercies are new every day (Lam. 2:23), so even if I royally mess up today, by your grace I can try again tomorrow. You are good even when I am not, and your love for me never wavers. Help me honor these truths today.
In Jesus’ name,