Last week I was on vacation. My husband Jon and I traveled to Colorado Springs for a quick four-day trip to visit with his brother and tour the area.
Pike’s Peak, Manitou Springs and the cliff dwellings, Focus on the Family, the Olympic Training Center, Garden of the Gods, Helen Hunt Falls … we packed in a lot of site-seeing during the brief two and a half days we had to play the part of tourist.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Colorado (besides the much-needed time alone with my husband) was the scenery. I’ve traveled to many places around the United States, but I had never before seen the Rocky Mountains. There are just no words to describe the beauty of those snow-capped peaks.
All too soon our short vacation was over. As Jon and I settled into the plane for our return flight home, I soaked in those last few moments of my mountain view, sad to leave behind the beauty of Colorado.
Our plane landed back in Louisiana in the wee hours of the morning, so the drive back to our Cajun home was dark. I admit I felt a strange sort of relief that I didn’t have to see the flat landscape of Louisiana right away. I anticipated I might feel disappointed to return home where the scenery wouldn’t be nearly as picturesque?
Yet I was surprised to find that instead of disappointment at the views of my hometown, I saw unexpected beauty. Moss hanging on trees. Stunning flowers in bloom everywhere. Birds of every color and size. Fields of crops as far as the eye can see. Louisiana’s bayous may not be Colorado’s mountains, but are they any less amazing? Both were made by the same Creator, for His glory and our enjoyment.
Louisiana is definitely not Colorado, but it isn’t any less wonderful. Going away not only gave me new sights to see, but it also provided a deeper appreciation for the beauty that surrounds me on a daily basis.
Maybe the best part about going away then was coming home with new eyes … learning to see the beauty of home.
Just prior to leaving on my vacation, I had my eyes examined. It had been ten years since my last eye exam. (Shameful, I know! But it’s what happens when you raise children and don’t have eyes that give you problems.)
For years, I counted myself especially blessed that my eyes could read and see without problems. My father has worn glasses since early childhood. My mother used reading glasses for as long as I can remember, and both of my siblings have worn reading glasses since their 20’s. I assumed I must have gotten the best of the genetics, at least regarding optic health.
Then I turned 40 … and something happened causing everything related to my eyes to change. It was as if a switch was flipped and my eyes didn’t work quite right anymore. My eyes felt tired, and ached at night. I struggled to focus, especially when trying to transitioning from looking at something close up to seeing something farther away. While my vision wasn’t so terrible that I felt like I couldn’t read without help or drive safely, I knew my eyesight was steadily growing worse. Perhaps I needed glasses.
As it turns out, I am mildly far-sighted, but also am slightly near-sightedness as well. Together, these issues are causing eye strain and stress, especially in situations when I have to transition between the two types of vision. I definitely needed glasses. In fact, I needed bifocals.
I suppose the consequences of going a decade without having one’s eyes checked might be going from no eyewear to bifocals. While it shouldn’t have been a big deal, I didn’t really want to deal with everyone noticing my new bifocals when I just needed time for myself to get used to wearing glasses over my baby blues. So after a short discussion with Jon, I opted to get glasses with transitions lenses. There would not be a bifocal line.
After getting back from my vacation, I picked up my new eyewear. I anticipating falling in love with them if for no other reason than the improved quality of my vision. But I have to admit, I do not love wearing these glasses. In fact, for the first three or four days, I found them completely bothersome.
My head ached after wearing them for a few hours. I felt like I lost a lot of clarity in my peripheral vision, which honestly the staff at the eye wear shop tried to inform me about but as I have never worn glasses or had experience with transition lenses I didn’t truly understand. Additionally, I continue to find myself struggling to know where to look through the lens in order to see best. My eyes do not yet naturally focus through the correct area depending on what I am trying to view. It’s been a hard few days, and my eyes seem to complain a lot when I’m wearing my new glasses.
I believe I might be turning the corner though. Just within the past 24 hours, I’ve noticed it’s been easier to read with my glasses. Last night my eyes didn’t feel as strained and tired like they normally do when I am about to go to bed. This afternoon I ran a couple of errands around town and upon returning home noticed that I never thought at all about the fact that I had my glasses on my face. It was as if they were just a normal part of me.
It’s taken me several days to just get used to wearing my new eyewear, and I’m certainly not to the place of loving them yet. But I think I’ll get there. I imagine some day soon I’ll wonder how I ever saw anything without these glasses.
Isn’t it interesting how something as simple as a trip or a new pair of glasses can change the way we see the world?
I didn’t know the real beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Naturally, I had seen photos and heard others tell me of their majesty, but until I saw them for myself I didn’t know how amazing it would be. Nor did I anticipate how seeing the wonders of Colorado would enable me see the loveliness of Louisiana upon my return.
I knew my eyesight was getting worse, and I figured glasses would help me see better. But until I wore my prescription pair and got used to the way they worked, I had not concept of how much better I would be able to see the world around me.
It’s like that with Jesus, too.
When Jesus takes over your heart and your soul belongs to Him, a lot of things about life suddenly begin to make sense.
The void no longer needs filling with hobbies, addictions, material possessions or human or even pet relationships. These things no longer control life, but simply add to the enjoyment of living.
Death, suffering and pain aren’t without purpose. A Christian still doesn’t enjoy these seasons, but finds hope rather than despair when walking through the hard times of this life.
The words of the Bible itself are easier understood. Instead of confusion, the Bible gives clarity and encouragement to those who love the Lord.
Religious formalities fall aside as a real relationship with Jesus (Creator and God of all) grows. Church attendance isn’t just another activity to waste precious weekend time. Bible reading and times of prayer are no longer drudgeries. Instead of being rituals to endure, they are life-giving activities providing fuel for faith to grow stronger.
But until you experience a real relationship with Christ, there is no way to explain how it will change your life. And the only way to have a relationship with Christ is through faith … not rituals or rules or church regulations or trying to do good things or attempting to live a clean life.
Exactly how faith works is a mystery. Why it alone changes the heart and soul is hard to fathom. How some so easily find it while others spend a lifetime never understanding how vital it is to finding real peace and joy on this side of heaven is something I’ve never understood.
Yet after placing my entire faith in Jesus Christ, I can say the same words of the blind man for whom Jesus restored sight:
“One thing I do know: I was blind and now I can see!” ~John 9:25