Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One of those days...

When doing the laundry, washing the dishes, going to the eye doctor and having my pupils dilated, walking the dog, sweating through a Tae Bo workout, vacuuming, cleaning the shower, and teaching the kids how to conjugate verbs in the past tense in Spanish... when all those things feel like what I've been meant to do all life long. It all fits today. It all makes sense. When the receptionist at the eye doctor asked me how I was doing, I answered in truth: "I'm doing great. How about you?"

I awoke to my husband's warm embrace, sat down at my brand-spanking new laptop computer and finished a project I'd been working on for a few days. Within minutes I was greeted by the sleepy faces of my two children whose first stop in the morning is my bedroom for a round of hugs from Mom and Dad (in that order). I was determined to be a grateful, forgiving, loving human being this morning. Come what may, and it, whatever "it" is, always comes, I would choose to accept each moment's challenges graciously. To learn the necessary lesson. To greet everyone I encountered with a smile. Sounds a little like Pollyanna, I know, but today it's working.

At the doctor's office, the nurse who took my updated health form, used some fancy machine to calculate my initial vision prescription reading, and deposited those dastardly dilating drops into my eyes didn't seem to be in a great mood when she led me from the waiting room to the examination room. Undaunted by her sternness, I smiled and commented at how amazing the machines are that can read my eyes without any help from me. She agreed - and thawed. I asked lots of questions in my usual geeky fashion, thanked her profusely for her answers, and did all within my power to make the best of my eye exam. Then I donned those goofy dark inserts and made my way trippingly to the car. (Brief aside here: I think there ought to be taxi service provided to and from eye exams in which the pupils are dilated. It simply cannot be safe for people to drive through the cities and towns of our great nation without the ability to filter light through one's eyeballs. Makes me wonder if an eye doctor has ever been sued as a result of a car accident...)

Apparently, my eyes haven't changed much in the past two years, but in true vanity, I picked new frames anyway. I justify my decision to get new ones this way: last year, the doctor said I didn't need new glasses, so I didn't get new ones then. This year, I figured, "Why not?" I came really close to picking a pair with fake gemstones on the side (why not flash a little bling?) but the children and the kind woman helping me decide on new frames all nixed that choice.

The little papers that those fancy machines spit out informed both the doctor and the nurse that my vision hasn't changed much in the past year. But I know that it has. I know that I see my husband and children with new eyes. I see my home, my church, and my neighbors with new eyes. Perhaps all the tragedies around the world, around this nation, and around my neighborhood have caused the scales of discontentment to fall from my eyes and motivated me to give thanks for the great blessings I have. Perhaps the news of war, disease, and natural disasters has relieved the pressure building up behind the retinas of my ever-critical eyes, so that nowadays I can see the beauty of spring, the vulnerability of those I love, and even peer through the thin veil of invulnerability around the strangers I encounter. Everyone, I now realize, wants to be seen, to be noticed, to be honored, to be loved.

After reading books and watching television shows about poverty, family distress, and the struggles faced by those without health insurance, I am able to look at my immigrant friends, my unemployed friends, and my less privileged friends differently. I didn't realize just how out of touch I'd become with "the real world." Not being able to go to Spain for a month this year is NOT a problem. Not being able to find a pair of navy blue shoes in size 11 is NOT a problem. Not being able to put dinner on the table tonight - THAT is a problem. Not being able to take one's sick child to the doctor due to lack of funds and insurance - THAT is a serious problem.

I see all of that better now than I did a year or two ago. I can see much more clearly now than ever before. My eyes have changed. My heart has changed. I couldn't be happier about it.

My pupils are slowly returning to their normal size. I am far less sensitive to the light now than I was an hour or so ago. But I hope I won't soon forget how myopic my spiritual and emotional sight has been for most of my life. I hope I won't ever forget the lessons I've been taught of late, not just the lessons I've read, but also the lessons I've learned from experience.

Today is one of those days when every pore is open. Every nerve is jangling. I want to both scream at the top of my lungs and sit in prolonged silence. I want to call everyone I know, journal everything I'm feeling, and write a twenty-page essay about everything I'm learning, but there are no words for what I'm feeling.

In the words of the great philosopher, Billy Joel, "I've loved these days."

1 comment:

Giovanna said...

always so great to read your site, gail. my spirit agreed with you deeply today as I read your latest post. thank you...