It almost seemed as if the nice young lady said the word with a question mark after it. You have cataracts?
I did say it with a question mark. A big one.
Cataracts? Me? Old people get those. I’m not old.
The nice young lady, who happens to be an optometrist, was kind at least. She agreed with me. Sort of.
“Why yes, Mr. Phillips, most people are much older than–what are you? Let me see. . . Oh. Well, fifty-seven isn’t that unusual for them to start.”
I’m still trying to work it out in my head. Did she just call me old? Ah, well. No sense in beating around the bush, I suppose.
The years are passing.
I don’t heal up as well as I once did. Arthritis is creeping into my hands, especially in the cold winter days, and even in these damp spring evenings I feel a few twinges in the joints. Age does that to a fellow. I’m doing what I can to fend off the evidence of aging, but it will inevitably be a losing battle.
Still, I stand here in relatively good condition and consider the young lady’s diagnosis. Cataracts in both eyes means that the lens are gradually clouding over, beginning (just beginning) to block the light rays necessary to see well. Over time, the cloudiness will grow thicker, blurring the sight and possibly robbing the ability to distinguish certain colors.
At last, I may actually have an excuse for wearing non-coordinated pants and shirts, or possibly even mismatched socks. That could work to my advantage.
But, it seems to me that this is something of a paradox–perhaps even a bit ironic. At a time of life when I believe I finally see things more clearly than I ever have, I find that I have a few years of clouded vision and blurry views to look forward to.
Oh, I’m sorry. I seem to have mixed the applications up a bit, haven’t I? We were talking about the physical issues of growing old and I injected a bit of the spiritual into the conversation. Well, since we’re here already, perhaps we’ll spend a minute or two more on the spiritual, shall we?
You see, I’m struck–and when I say struck, I mean hard–with the sneaky way these things creep up on us. We pride ourselves in having our eyes wide open, in seeing all the aspects of the life we live. All the while, our vision is becoming cloudy, the details of reality becoming fuzzy.
I wonder. When the Teacher suggested that there were blind men leading blind men in the days when He walked this earth, do you suppose that those blind leaders got that way in an instant?
Wouldn’t it rather be true that they once strove to see God’s way clearly? They hadn’t always been old men, blinded by the result of years of failing sight. I have to believe that at one time, they too were wide-eyed idealists, hoping to change their world for the better.
Years–and bad decisions–have a way of altering dreams and vision. It’s as true with our spiritual vision as it is with our physical sight.
The young lady tells me that I’ll need to wait a few years for the right time to remove my cataracts. A simple and highly effective surgery will make things right again. Until then, I’ll find ways to deal with the inconveniences of the disease.
I wonder if the other sight will be quite as easy to set right?
Perhaps. The Teacher once used spit and mud to do the job.
I’d like to see things the way He wants me to again.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision.”
(Helen Keller ~ Blind/deaf author/lecturer ~ 1880-1968)
“And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning.
(Job 11: 17 ~ ESV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.