My eyes have seen the glory

There are very few things in my life that I’m more insecure about than my glasses. I can’t really explain this to someone who has never worn glasses as thick as mine, but it’s true. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was four years old – thick glasses, the kind that give people permission to say whatever they want to you, or to stare. Let me tell you, when people feel free to say what they want to you, well, you’re just one step from feeling humiliated. “Four eyes.” “Coke bottle lenses.” “Can you see to the moon? Can you see the future?” “Why don’t you get the thin ones?” Well, these are the thin ones. This is as thin as it gets. Thanks, though. My mom and I have talked about our frustration with that: I have a disability that requires corrective lenses, and yet people have no qualms about commenting on it. The lesson? People can be pretty rude.

When I was ten, I got contacts, and I’ve had those since, and things have been better. Contacts, though, dry out my eyes and make them red. In high school trigonometry, the boy who sat in front of me would turn around and say, “Your eyes are red again. How was the weed this weekend?” No matter what I do, I never seem to be able to get rid of the redness in my eyes. This is always a great source of frustration, because I clean my contacts every night, I change them after two weeks, and I don’t sleep in them, while I have friends who ignore all three of the above rules, and their eyes look fine. No redness whatsoever.

When I was a little girl, on into middle and high school, I would close my eyes very tight and pray that God would fix my eyes. I still had a childlike faith, the faith that’s commended in the Bible, but it didn’t mean my eyes would get any better. These days, my conversations with God regarding my eyes take the following form: Why, God, why? Why do my eyes have to be so bad? Why do I keep getting that inflammation on my eyelid, even when I do everything right? Why can’t I have corrective surgery yet? Why do I think you even care?

A few years ago, I had my eyes checked to see if I was a candidate for corrective surgery. I was told that my eyes were too bad to have it done, and to check back in a year or two. In the weeks beforehand, when I still had hope that I might be able to have it done, I thought about how different my life would be if I could see without assistance. Waking up in the middle of the night being able to see the clock? Would be a miracle. Not a feed-the-five-thousand kind of miracle, but a miracle nonetheless. A whole new way of life for me. And maybe that will be my reality one day. I will continue to hope in the midst of my frustrated questions.

So, why am I talking about all this today? Well, the inflammation on my eyelid has returned, and I’ll be wearing my glasses for the next few weeks. I happen to really like my glasses, but I still get the stares and the questioning looks. I try to pass it off, “I’m going for the sexy librarian look,” or, if that’s not an appropriate answer, “I’m trying to look smart.” But inside me is still the girl who is afraid you are going to tease her, who is afraid that you think she’s ugly in her glasses. I think it’s a good thing when I have to wear my glasses, because she needs to be confronted from time to time, forced out of the back corners of my mind. She needs to know that those things aren’t really true. She needs to stop being so afraid.

My goal for the next two weeks is to love wearing my glasses. To rock them at every holiday event, to play them up every possible way. To get as many pictures of them as possible. And maybe one day I’ll get to have the surgery after all, and I will look at those pictures and say, “I prayed for my eyes, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” Maybe that’s a foolish dream, but a girl can hope, right?

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