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A CHOICE TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE


It’s never really about the small things, is it? It’s just those ‘final straws’ that throw us over the edge. I spent 10 minutes crying over a few pieces of trash in the backyard. Now, it certainly wasn’t about the trash. Not in the least. But, that was the final straw.


After having emergency retina surgery a month ago, I’m growing weary. I am weary of wondering if my eyesight will return to its previous state, while being very grateful that my vision in that eye was able to be saved (this was in question just a few weeks ago). And that should be enough right there. But we’re human and we have all these feelings that “bubble” up in spite of ourselves. Bubble is a term of significance I’ll be referring to a little later.


The subject for one of my posts in the past year was “Looking Up.” I laughed at the irony of this as I wiped my tears from looking down the hill at the trash in the yard. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time looking down recently. Some of you may know, but I did not, that in most cases when you are recovering from retinal tear and detachment surgery you must remain in a face-down position for approximately 10 days following your release. I can only imagine how things have improved for this procedure over the decades. Some wonderful designer or health service person has created a contraption similar to the massage chairs you may have seen back when you used to shop in malls - the ones with the holes in which you comfortably rest your pretty little face as they attempt to remove the many stress-related knots in your shoulders and back. Hey, how bad can this be, I thought to myself as the sweet, smiling representative set up this torture…um, recovery equipment in our den. You know, right in the middle of the den. Where I could be a part of the family and their conversations and listen to life continuing as normal. It even included a convenient shelf/arm rest where I could look down at my phone or a book. We also invested in the extra double-mirror attachment that could help you watch television if you placed and folded it in just the right position - making sure not to breathe too heavy or stretch your cramped leg, as this would render said TV-watching invention useless. It turns out that it’s just not the same. I don’t know why exactly, but I’m sure some expert could tell me. My feeling was that it was missing one of the D’s…you know, 2D, 3D, HD. Some D was not involved here and I was missing it terribly. So, we tossed that aside and laughed as I said, “Let’s watch Dancing With the Stars!” My dear daughter ever so gently reminded me that a lot would be lost as I heard people gasp, ooh, and aah, at the amazing moves performed with each song. Good point.


Quite honestly, though, that 10 days went amazingly fast. My daughter and husband kept me entertained with their clever repartee. Friends brought all kinds of wonderful comfort food, and lots and lots of cake. I was allowed 30 minutes for meals, so I took advantage and looked around at as many things as I could during that time. How are the plants doing? What shape is the house in? Are there ants in the sink? Those kinds of things. And my phone - how I missed texting, Facebook, word games, and reading emails! Also reading my devotionals each morning - though my sweet daughter was also willing to read those to me. After choking down my food to allow more ‘free time’ in the 30-minute allotment (they never said I had to be eating the entire time) I’d try to take in all that I could. Most of this was still spent looking down as I wasn’t able or encouraged to look up - plus it was pretty painful initially.


Back to my earlier “bubble” comment…a part of this particular surgery is to insert a gas bubble in the eye to hold everything, particularly the retina, in place as the eye heals. The doctor warned me not to expect to see anything for the first few days as the bubble would take up the entire field of vision in that eye. Then, as time went on, it began to look like a black horizontal line across the center of my vision (confirmed as normal by Google search conducted by my first-born). As this bubble continued to change and decrease in size, it began to look similar to the colors and shapes of one of the last things I was able to view clearly with both eyes - this beautiful, extraordinary sunset which was unlike any I’d ever experienced in my 60+ years. I felt deep in my soul there was something for me to literally absorb when I saw this beauty just days before being told I needed to plan for immediate surgery.


In no way do I think God planned for this to happen to me, and this particular setback is nothing compared to what so many have had to and are still having to go through. But I feel like God knew I would need to “look” back and be comforted by that amazing sight; to be reminded that he was and is still in control. My mind’s eye could recall the beauty completely and this new vision in healing brought it continually before me. Maybe this was one of those signs we always ask for and beg to see.


As I’m writing this post, I’m reminded to be peaceful and to be still as I wait. Looking down for 10 days as opposed to my usual refreshment and joy at looking up was a challenge for me. I thought the time would remind me of being in a position of prayer; bowing my head in reverence. It did not. I had a difficult time even putting my thoughts into an understandable form of prayer, which reminded me of one of my favorite passages of scripture from Romans, chapter 8, verses 26-27. Read different versions of this passage if you take the time to look it up. I love the King James version for this one because “groanings” always seems like the more appropriate word for these situations. I feel like God is most likely not saying there goes Janice again with all of her sighs.


While looking down in my cereal bowl, I wiped away the remaining tears shed over misplaced trash and suddenly felt the urge to look up toward the trees. It felt good and familiar, and I realized how much I had missed this part of my daily routine. Then, I noticed something up high that stood out even though it was close to the same shade of grayish-brown as the few remaining leaves. It surely wasn’t a living creature since it was so perfectly still. Since I couldn’t focus well, I quickly grabbed my phone, snapped a photo and enlarged it. It was a lone, mourning dove, and its beautiful eyes seemed to be staring right at me. It was such a precious moment and reminder that even though it may be harder to find the good and see God’s blessings when I’m going through tough times, it doesn’t mean they’re not there, or that God is no longer watching over and caring for me. These signs may not always be in the jarring, breathtaking sunset that takes over our entire field of vision. They might be through the discovery of a small, quiet bird that blends into the surroundings.


It’s time to look up again. And I am so grateful.






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