I Never Knew I Was Blind ... Until I Could See!
by Deborah Porter 2/15/2007 / Christian Living
I still remember the day when my sister, Diane, discovered that she was shortsighted. She was 19 at the time and had been so excited about finally taking the big step of getting her permit to learn to drive.
The rules have changed quite a lot since then, with all applicants now having to pass a road knowledge test before they can get behind a steering wheel. However, at that time the only requirement was that an eye examination be passed.
Diane never gave it a second thought as she headed off to the local Roads and Traffic Authority that morning. Neither did we; at least not until an hour later when she tearfully informed us that she'd failed the test and would have to get glasses.
Glasses! The thought was more than my 15-year-old mind could comprehend. How could it be so?
Sure, older people had to wear them, as well as the occasional unfortunate girl or boy at school. But not my big sister! I mean, come on! Wasn't it enough that she'd had to wear braces on her teeth in those terribly painful, self-conscious, early teenage years?
Within days, Diane's first pair of glasses became a reality and to be honest they didn't look bad on her. Not only that, but Di was now able to get her learner's permit and safely step into the whole new world of driving.
In the end I decided that these spectacles were fine for my sister, but thankfully I wouldn't have to worry about such things for myself. After all, I had absolutely no desire to ever drive a car.
Not that I would need glasses anyway, of course! Still, if I wasn't in any hurry to start driving then the issue should never even need to arise.
The first shock hit me when Diane left her new glasses on the brick wall surrounding our back patio. In a moment of adolescent mischief, I picked them up and looked through the lenses.
Instantly everything became crystal clear!
Before anyone could see and comment on what I'd just done, I whipped the incriminating glasses from my face and tossed them back onto the top of the wall. If there was a problem with my sight, I didn't want to know about it.
I managed to slip unobtrusively back into my fuzzy world of delusion for another two years. Then, I met my Waterloo.
It wasn't because I wanted to learn to drive (in fact, I managed to avoid that for another ten years). It was, unfortunately, because my first job was as a secretary in the Public Service and, as was the normal procedure for all Government employees, I was required to undergo a physical.
Everything was perfect, until the Doctor turned my attention toward the itty-bitty eye chart that was set at least half a mile away from where I was standing. When he asked me to read the fourth line, I was so stunned that I never even thought to try and fake it. Instead I showed my complete disbelief by squawking, "You MUST be JOKING!"
"I think you'd better see an Optometrist," he advised, without any trace of humor.
A few weeks later the Optometrist confirmed that I was, indeed, short-sighted--just like my sister.
By the time my Mother took me to collect my new glasses, I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that, even if I didn't wear them all the time, spectacles were always going to be a part of my life. Not only that, but I'd actually started to even feel a little excited about what this may do for my viewing pleasure.
I will never forget the moment the Optometrist set the glasses carefully on my face and told me to read the sign on the building across the street. Every single letter was perfectly clear and in razor-sharp focus. It was truly amazing.
The trip home that day was eye-opening, to say the least. I discovered that trees actually had individual, quite distinct, non-blurry leaves. I also noticed that the spray from a little waterfall could be seen as individual droplets dancing in the sunlight.
Oh, and the signs along the way! Each one of them stood out with such brilliant detail and clarity that I couldn't help but read every single word.
It was on that short drive home that the revelation hit. I had never realized that my eyesight was poor, until I was actually given the opportunity to see. I also realized that I'd been compensating for years. Short-sighted people become very good at guessing what signs say by gauging the size and length. It is, however, an ability that is far from foolproof.
While I was still in my fuzzy little out-of-focus world, I had absolutely no concept of what I was missing. Although my eyesight had once been very good, the deterioration was so gradual that I never noticed the change of quality. I simply thought that everyone saw things the same way.
Astoundingly, it only took one second in time for my view of the world to be changed forever. It was the instant the Optometrist set the glasses in place. Right then, a lifetime of distorted vision came to an end, and in its place was a new life of clarity and focus!
I was 17 when my physical sight was corrected. My spiritual sight, however, remained extremely unfocussed for several more years. To be honest, when it came to my spiritual vision, I wasn't just a little short-sighted--I was completely blind!
Although my glasses had given me a whole new view of the world around me, the reality was that my worldview hadn't changed at all. I didn't know it then, but my life at that time was a perfect illustration of the Apostle Paul's words to the church in Corinth:
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV)
Every now and then, someone or something would give me a little glimpse of what was missing in my life, but fear always caused me to step back into my cozy, clumsy world of denial.
That little world survived until the day I fell in love with Jesus. In that instant, I stepped out of the darkness of my spiritual blindness and into the light of revelation.
Right at that very moment, the eyes of my heart were opened to the truth. Then, in the light of God's grace, my whole life came clearly into focus, and at long last I was truly able to see.
"I [Jesus] have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46 NIV)
Copyright Deborah Porter 20th July, 2003
Deborah Porter is Editor of FaithWriters' Magazine and Coordinator of the Writing Challenge. A freelance writer and editor (www.finessewriting.com.au) she also has her own website (www.breathfreshair.org). Deb is the writer and presenter of the new Cool Country Gospel Hour on Sydney's radio 2KA.