Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Check Your Eyes

I have terrible road rage. I will be the first to admit this. Granted, the fact that I hate the sound of swear words coming out of my mouth, my rage may be interpreted as talking nicely and waving politely to other drivers around me. But trust me. It's rage.

Last week I was pulling out of the office when I noticed a major back-up on the interstate. (I can easily see I-75 from my office window.) I considered taking side roads home, but feared I would be late for a dinner date. So I decided to brave the parking lot formally known as the freeway. I braced myself for the impatience and anger that would soon spew from my mouth. I told myself it would be okay—that I would be okay—and I turned on my right blinker and merged my way onto the ramp.

As soon as I looped around, I noticed traffic was flowing smoothly. In fact, I hadn't seen the interstate so clear at 5:30 in my year and a half in Knoxville. I quickly made it home and made my date on time.

My perspective from inside my office was completely different than my perspective up close. Or there may have been a momentary hold-up that shifted a few minutes later.

Either way, it turned out to be a great decision. My perspective changed and so did my attitude.

I made one of the best decisions of my life back in April. I got LASIK. In ten minutes, that doctor whisked me in the room, numbed my eyes, made me stare at a blinking red light, and before I could finish the story of how I ended up in Knoxville, he was done. And, I could see.

Those first few days of being able to see without glasses or contacts were mind-blowing to me. I stared at every blade of grass, every leaf, every bird. I had never been able to see so clearly and I was in awe.

My first trip back to the eye doctor went great. I told him I loved my eyes and I thanked him for this awesome gift. (To which he in turn thanked me for paying the mortgage on beach house for the next 5 years.)

He gave me a glowing report. My eye-sight went from 20/400 to 20/15.

As I was considering changing my career from TV producer to pilot, I noticed something changing in my eyes. The leaves started to blur. Not blur as in I couldn't see, but blur as in they just didn't look as sharply as they had in those first few hours.

I stopped paying attention to each blade of grass.

I woke up in the mornings and didn't feel that sense of awe I had at the beginning. Well—not without a cup of coffee first.

Something had changed. Did they screw up my eyes? Was I going blind again? Should I hire a lawyer to sue the pants off of them if I lost my eyesight for good?

Concerned that my eyes were deteriorating at a rapid rate, I scheduled an appointment. The assistant did all the usual eye tests and sent me into the exam room. When the doctor walked in, he turned off the light and stared into my eyes. The light went back on, he made a few notes and he turned to me and said, "Everything looks great."

Hold on. Things aren't as clear as they once were. I have to focus harder. I can't see the individual blades of grass. Everything is not great. Something is wrong.

He asked me to read the letters on the wall. The smallest line.

"Yep," he said. "Your vision isn't just perfect, it has improved. You're now 20/10."

The problem wasn't my eyes deteriorating. The problem was my perspective. At the beginning, everything was new and fresh. I couldn't help but notice each beautiful green leaf on each beautiful tree. I hadn't ever experienced such clarity. As time passed, I got used to the trees and the grass. My eyes hadn't lost the wonder. I had lost the wonder.

I think the same is true in life. We spend our days keeping up with schedules, work deadlines, meetings, family time, and dinner engagements. We pack our weekends with as much as we can. We get stressed. We get rushed. We have road rage. We lose perspective.

I have a new alarm that goes off at 2pm every day. It's my "check your perspective" alarm. It reminds me that this moment, in the spectrum of eternity, is fleeting. It reminds me to take off my earthly eyes and put on my kingdom eyes. It reminds me that the stress doesn't matter. The work will get done. The day will end in success.

Be present. Notice the brilliant colors. Be aware of the vivid picture the surrounds you. Despite the chaos of the day, your vision is perfect. Adjust your eyes. Change your perspective. Live.

1 comment:

  1. First time reading your blog. I like it. :) I once suffered HORRIBLE road rage while driving from CO to NE for Christmas. It seemed no one in NE knew to "keep right except for passing." I pulled over in North Platte for some coffee and while in the drive thru, I noticed the couple in the car behind me were obviously having a rough time with one another. Their body language said it all. It quickly put me in check, I anonymously paid for their coffee and I couldn't help but feel as if my attitude had been redeemed. Hopefully, it gave them the chance to remember the joy that should be found in Christmas Eve too. Keep it up!