Last Tuesday I woke up at 6 AM and took off for Louisville. The vehicular trek from Minneapolis to Louisville is between 11 and 12 hours of driving depending on if you go through Chicago or not (I didn’t). I had to leave that early because driving at night is not ideal with my vision issues. My vision comes to bear on a lot of my life, but it’s become second-nature at this point. I wanted to post a brief update on my vision because I’ve been asked about it quite a bit recently for whatever reason, and it’s been a little over a year and a half, so I’m sure some have wondered how it has been going.
I realize that a post like this could easily come off as self-centered, and that is not my intent. I don’t want to post this simply because I think my life issues are at the forefront of other people’s minds…I know they aren’t. And they shouldn’t be. In reality, a large part of it is putting it into words. I’ve written in my journal about it before, but there is something different about preparing an explanation that you know will be read by others.
That said, there is one journal entry that explains in a very simple way how things are with the eye in particular.
“Dryness and a sense of being out of place or irritated. A lack of balance. The extra few moments it takes to focus. Frustration. Is there someone behind me? Did I miss a spot along my right jawline? Stare, stare, and stare some more…still periphery.
It’s interesting to think about that…periphery, that is. In reality I know that its a familiar experience for many people, so it’s probably a pretty easy idea to relate to. On certain days, at certain times, with certain subjects, that way of living where things are seen but not clearly enough to grasp what they are. The overwhelming anxiety as you see something SO clearly and cannot tell what it is.”
Even reading that now, I find it to be true. There is just something profoundly affecting about the experience that God has granted me…the recognition that I will never, as things stand now, see anything “easily.” I say that because nothing about vision feels purely natural anymore. For one thing, there is a noticeable oddness about the eye as it sits in its socket. It may not look like it from the outside but I feel it. All the time.
Of course I can still drive, and I can still play basketball, and most sports I can pick up as long as I have time to adjust to the depth perception issues that accompany those sports where distance is measured in the blink of an eye for most. This is not a plea for special privileges, certainly not the privilege (curse) of pity from outside sources, it’s just a recognition of fact.
There are moments that I reflect and become discouraged. I realize many have much more difficult circumstances, and I realize that I could have very easily simply been killed in a hunting accident rather than just slightly injured. I am forever grateful for God’s mercy in allowing me to see Laura’s face when I arrived home, allowing me to keep the eye itself (which, oddly enough, is one of the difficulties I deal with, haha. More on that later), giving me the incredible blessing of being able to see for myself children that we will have, and sunsets, and another round of game-winning shots in March.
I get discouraged that my life is different, and it will never be the same. I wish I could say that I never did, but I do. I think we all have those things that we bemoan in our lives at times. Thankfully, there is always a cleft in the seemingly sheer rock face of despair, and more often than not, I find that cleft in God’s Word.
2 Corinthians 4:17,18 says this: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Yesterday I was reading a sermon that Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave in Pensacola, Florida in 1969. He focused on this passage and it struck me to my core.
Think of a table in front of you. Atop that table you find an old-fashioned scale with two plates on opposing sides. In the life of the Christian, it can be easily discouraging at times as we see objects constantly added to the plate labeled “Afflictions.” Injury, broken relationships, mistakes that cannot be taken back, words that cannot be unsaid, insults spat in your direction, the loss of ones you love, flat tires, constant pain, migraine headaches, divisiveness within family and groups of friends, war, famine, genocide, unthinkable atrocities, and more. These are swiftly piled up, one on top of the other, until the weight is unbearable, we can no longer even see the table underneath it all, surely hope is crushed somewhere at the bottom of that pile.
Paul says that it is “light.” The weight of these is light in relation to this “glory” that is “beyond all comparison.” I would urge you not to see those as words on a screen, and more as an idea, a notion. The idea of a glory that is beyond ALL comparison…is, well, is there a word for it? The notion that regardless of whether our afflictions weigh 20lbs or 20 trillion tons, the weight of glory makes them seem insignificant, is a pretty incredible thing to reflect on. And that is precisely what I needed to hear.
Lloyd-Jones shared a portion of a poem in conjunction with the sermon and it summed it up beautifully. I will carry this with me for the rest of my life. Truly the written word is a gift from God.
“The eternal glories gleam afar,
To nerve my faint endeavor…
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.”
-James Grindlay Small
May your afflictions seem to be smoke in the wind as you study God’s Word.