Thursday, January 14, 2010

30 Days of Touch -- Contacts

I just started wearing contact lenses again for the first time in about 20 years (ever since I had to wear bifocals). There were two reasons I decided to give them a try again. One was that I get tired of pushing my glasses up or down or bending the frames or cleaning the lenses or any other of a zillion things that drive me crazy about glasses.

The other was ... well... vanity. I looked in the mirror and saw that I was now 58 not 18. Where did my hair go???? And why was my beard white. So I thought contacts might restore at least some semblance of youthfulness. And, indeed they did. I put them in and looked hours younger.

They did take some getting used, of course. They are bifocal lenses so they are a little funny vision wise at first -- until my brain figures out how they work and translates the impulses into clear vision (all very scientific, I know). And the other is putting them in.

I have this aversion to anything touching my eyes. You know that puff of air they shoot you with to test for glaucoma? I start flinching from the time I put my face anywhere near the machine. And if you point your finger toward my eye, I start backing up.

So, I had to get used to putting the tiny lenses on the end of my finger and then keeping my eye open long enough without flinching to get the lens in place.

Of course, it is no big deal -- except that they are my eyes! Over the past month, though, the procedure has become almost automatic -- I can put them in, uh, not blindfolded obviously, but easily.

And I can see. Very well. These little teeny tiny small pieces of plastic suck right up onto my eye and put the world in focus for me.

Oh, and did I mention that they make me look hours younger? Very youthful. They make my beautiful blue eyes sparkle.

As I thought about these lenses and how easily they have become an invisible part of me, I began to think about other things that have become second nature and improve my spiritual vision. Attending worship is one. I rarely anymore (unlike when I was a pastor) wonder whether I will go or not... I just do. Not out of habit (well, maybe a little) but because, like putting in my contacts, I know that doing so will help me see my way through the coming week more clearly.

Looking with attention and love at the world around me is another that helps bring my God-sight into focus. It is easier to see God at work in the world when I gaze that way -- with loving attention. And though I still have along way to go in doing that well, I slowly am getting better at it and thereby seeing the Divine breaking through my day all around me.

Those are just two of the things that serve as spiritual contact lenses for me. Others include listening to music and hearing the creative forces at work, soulful reading of poetry and prose, and having spiritual conversations with friends. All of these are, in small ways, like contact lenses -- not very big, but making a big difference. Helping me focus on the important life of the spirit. Bringing sight to my soul's eyes.

-- Brent

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