Jesus, the Other Sun
Guiding me along the lighted path…
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“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22, NIV.
A “Hole-y-ness” Invites the Splendor to Burst Through
The Fourth of July is probably my favorite holiday, mostly because no matter where in the world I’m teaching, I’m home visiting with my family at that time. When my dad was alive, he always entered his antique limousines in the Independence Day parade in Millcreek. I always held my breath because it seemed every year they didn’t leave enough time to prepare the vehicles. But Dad always surprised me. I’d wake up to the sound of water running. I’d peek out the window and there he’d be hosing off the hubcaps of the ’29, ’39 or one of the old firetrucks he’d converted. He has a fleet of trucks. In fact, I rode beside my dad in lots of parades and threw out candy to the li’l kids. Sometimes I rode with my brother-in-law. The parade was slow getting started and there was always lots of time to plug flags in and around the truck, get the dog all fired up (Elmo was more than ready, beaming and running from side to side, panting at his well-wishers). Wonderful memories of the Fourth and seeing life in a small town from the inside of a special vehicle.
The day is always capped with fireworks.
People sometimes ask me, “What can you see of the fireworks since you are night blind (blind, vision-impaired, etc)?”
I stop and have to think for a minute because what I see changes, depending on the amount of sleep I’ve had, the general condition of my health, and where I am with my deterioration.
How can I answer concisely?
Do you remember those pin-hole glasses people used to wear to strengthen their eyes? They were special glasses you bought at the drugstore. I remember them being on the sale rack for a couple of years. Once my friend urged me to buy a pair … and I did. But hated them so much I wore them just a few times. I already had problems and they further split my vision into fifty or so teeny-tiny pinhole fragments. I got dizzy the instant I put them. Never really figured out how they strengthened your eyes. But they must have because they were touted as such for awhile. Anyway, sometimes I feel my vision is already split into tiny holes like that. But when I look out my RP-impaired eyes, I don’t see a sharp grid of clearly delineated holes. For me, some pigment lightly spots the surface in very imperceptible bits and pieces. It’s like being out on a cloudy day.
It’s too time-consuming to explain all that so I give my stock reply, “I see the biggest, brightest flashes of light.”
The other night on the Fourth of July, my mom came up to my apartment and said, “Look! We can see the fireworks from your living room window!” She sounded excited, and ready to view “the show.” The window faced the front of the house, toward the street. The Girard Borough was putting off a $4,000 display of fireworks at the high school. I grabbed a chair for her to sit down and she sat, and ooh’d and ahh’d after each one. It did my heart so much good just watching her expressions as she witnessed the display, which burst forth in the very center of my window. Every once in awhile, I’d peek and see big flashes of light followed by a big boom.
I thought about that display long after community workers packed it all up and drove home, content with the $4,000 they spent to dazzle the community under the umbrella of the Perry-200 Commemoration.
I really do see splendor.
What a blessing!
A verse from the Bible came to mind, something about the eye being good or bad determining if what you could see. I couldn’t quite remember it. I really didn’t understand that verse and I probably avoided because it seemed unfairly-biased to a vision-impaired gal. But maybe, the Holy Spirit prompted me to look it up and meditate on it.
I can’t see everything that comes through my vision so I can only focus on that which is bright and visible. The best. Maybe my Retinitis Pigmentosa filters what gets through to my eyes, and that’s a blessing. I don’t see the clutter. The junk. I see the best. I don’t have to differentiate the subtle details, especially at night. They aren’t there for me. I don’t know what I’m missing but how can I miss what I don’t know is there?
Of course, God wouldn’t be singling out blind, fake-blind, or vision-impaired people with this verse. I’ve always just
been a little overly-sensitive–but suddenly I felt God reveal the true meaning of this verse. Maybe this verse means that when we choose to look at our circumstances in a good way, trusting Him, and culling out the splendor in the moment, then our entire body will be bright. We’ll feel optimistic. God brings us encouragement in bright beautiful colors but we can’t get the splendor mixed up with the ordinary, or we might miss God’s gift for that situation.
So what does “our body will be full of light” mean? Our hearts? Our outlook? Our world? Our perspective?
Late at night, I lie still and think through this verse. When I bumble and bump into things, or as just a few days ago, I fell down the kitchen stairs for the first time when I got disoriented in my own house, I feel my eye isn’t a good lamp to my body. A good physical lamp. I get terrible bruises. But God wants me to look past that, to sensitize my eyes to see what He does. When I am weak, once again, I discover that He becomes magnified, the brightest and most beautiful splendor I can see. He will be glorified through my weaknesses if I choose to respond in the right way.
I don’t want that. Ever.
I want to let the good in.
Suddenly I can hardly breathe as my mind is running up flights of stairs, two-at-a-time, not worried about tripping because now I can see that my eyes are full of light, His light and that will light my body. What I choose to focus on.
God keeps teaching me about His loving nature through my ongoing blindness and unique moments like the sweet time I shared with my mom on the Fourth of July.
Every day the Holy Spirit reveals something through my own faltering “hole-y” vision. It can be something little. Or it can be something big. And bright. And Splendid. And yes, holy.
I love how God does that. Takes a regular question, makes me turn it over in my mind, shows me a verse and turns it into a teachable, unforgettable moment that encourages me so much I can’t wait to let it burst out of me … just like this year’s spectacular Fourth of July conclusion to a fantastic light display. With booms and bangs.
How can I be so fortunate?
God gave me my beautiful hole-y eyes.
Let me never take what I see, what gets sifted in, for granted.
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Amy Bovaird is a Christian & Inspirational writer whose humorous stories are featured in anthologies and magazines. She is writing her first autobiographical book based on her vision loss.