Seeing Through New Eyes

I talked last week about being on a road trip with my granddaughter. I love going back to my hometown and the surrounding area, seeing how things have changed, some for the worse, but many for the better. What’s particularly nice about traveling with someone who has never been there before, especially a young person, is seeing things through their eyes. My granddaughter had never been in an old traditional county seat with the courthouse in the middle of a town square.

She had never been in a cemetery. None of the churches she has attended in her 13 years have had a cemetery connected to the church grounds. We spent nearly an hour in my hometown graveyard. It is beautiful and serene. It has an old iron fence around it, a semi-circular gravel drive through it, and undulating ground shaded by huge oak trees.

There are more bodies buried in that cemetery than living residents in the little town. The gravestones vary in style and size and tell a story of more than 200 years of life and death and the hope of being reunited in an even more beautiful place. We saw the grave marker of my grandmother’s grandmother. We saw my grandmother’s stone that indicated her 95 years, taking her across a millennium. We saw her little brother’s stone whose short dash didn’t even span a full year.

My granddaughter had never seen cotton growing in a field before. Or a cotton gin. Or the Mississippi river. So many things I take for granted. I’ve seen them so often, I don’t really see them clearly anymore.

Last week I also went for an eye exam. I need new glasses. The ones I currently have are a couple of years old. The lenses are a bit scratched and the prescription needs to be updated. I can see distance clearly, but for up-close viewing, I find myself constantly taking my glasses on and off. I was happy to hear that I don’t have any signs of glaucoma or cataracts. I’ve worn glasses since I was eight, so needing help seeing doesn’t bother me, but those old-age sight problems worry me a lot. The very young-looking optometrist said I should expect to see clearly for quite a few more years.

But, you know, despite new glasses, I still don’t fully comprehend everything I see. Sometimes it’s because I’ve looked at something so many times I don’t see the details anymore. Or my mind might tell me something’s changed about it, but my eyes are seeing the way it’s always been. Conversely, places I haven’t been to in years can be so completely changed I can’t find my way around; the roads are all new and unfamiliar.

Nothing is going to be perfect in this life. We will never completely comprehend everything we see. Over time our vision of the world will change due to our aging eyesight, an altered landscape, a different perspective offered by fresh, young eyes. Or, the peculiar way the light happens to be shining on my path today.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 

1 Corinthians 13:12

God is always working, listening, seeing, molding, and remaking. He shows us new ways of seeing every day. But, our lenses are sometimes scratched, our windows fogged, our landscapes altered, our perspective clouded by the way we think things should look. Don’t despair. One sweet day we will say, “I see.”


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