Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Light - Part III

One of the ways we kids knew Christmas was coming was that my father found the box of lights and, after a bit of untangling the snarl, stretched the strings out on the living room floor to see if all the lights worked. Remember when one burnt out bulb meant they all went dark and it was necessary to check every one?

Each year when he did this he would turn to me and say, "I remember when you were a baby. You scooted along looking at the lights. It was one of the ways we realized you had a serious vision problem, because you put your nose almost on the bulb, and then your face would break out in a smile. I was afraid you were going to burn your poor little nose." He thought it sad but rather endearing. As for me, I did not like the story, even though I knew my father meant it kindly. I found it distressing and a bit disturbing. After all, that was me he was talking about.

At some point I learned that my first word was not "mama" or "dada." It was "light." My mother recalled holding me on her lap and watching as I gazed up at the lamp beside us, saying "yite." Later, at Christmas, it became "pitty yite." (Years later, my own daughter also said "pitty yite" at Christmas time.)

The medical profession was not much help (this was the 50s), but after much prayer and searching, my mother discovered Dr. Louis Jaques, an extraordinary optometrist who said he would try to help. He did, thank God. Long story. But I remember this dear old man, who retired at 90, once telling me what it was like when he tried out a pair of glasses on a four year old me, and my world changed forever. He would get misty eyed and give me a kiss--which was sweet but embarassing. I loved him, and the feeling was mutual. He did all he could to help me keep what he called, "your precious vision." He has been deceased for many years, but he will always remain one of my favorite people.

But what if my parents had ignored the obvious signs? What if they figured that I'd get by? Or decided a little bit of light was plenty? Or simply told me to make the best of it, or that I was blessed and "special"... and left it at that (as quite a few eye professionals had seemed only too happy to do)? In that case, I would have been needlessly living by the light I had and thinking it was plenty, never realizing that there was so much more!

When we see someone stumbling in spiritual darkness, do we care enough to say, "There is so much more for you!" When a man or woman is living in "light" that is actually darkness only they don't realize it, do we simply say, "Ah, they will get by"and avoid risking a relationship?

Do we remember what it was like to stumble in darkness?

Luke 11:35-36
Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

God of Light and Life, thank you for sunlight, moonlight, starlight, candlelight, lamplight--and Christmas lights, and eyes to see them with. But thank you even more for the One who was the Light of the World, the One who came to show us what God is like. Give us loving hearts and grace-filled words to reach out with light to those who may be stumbling in darkness of heart and spirit. And send us someone to help when our own spiritual sight gets a little dim. Amen


Anonymous said...

Great Post.

LoieJ said...

To your deeper point: It is so hard to know when to say something to someone about what might be a blind spot that they have...or do we have a bigger log in our own eyes. [I mean this apart from just saying the Gospel message.]

To the vision point: Thank goodness the school nurses here conduct some vision screening each year. We hadn't taken our oldest for a checkup, but the school found a problem. She didn't know she was supposed to be able to see the baseball when we had gone to a game!

Chris said...

Wonderful post, SO.

Shine on!

zorra said...

A hug for four-year-old you, and grown-up you.
Was this part of a sermon? It certainly preaches.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, touching story.

Jeni said...

Just yesterday, our church had a pot-luck dinner and our annual pageant in honor of St. Lucia, patron saint of Sweden. St. Lucia is also associated with the Festival of Light, much symbolic resonance here - lighting a catacomb and lighting the world - and it's one of my favorite celebrations of the church year. Very good imagery in your post to your vision problems and those of others but of a different fashion.