By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
In 1961, when I was eight years old, my vision went south quickly, and I found myself often walking up to the old-style blackboard in Miss Anderson’s third grade class in order to see what she had written. At first, I got in trouble for getting out of my seat without permission, but then Miss Anderson realized that I was compensating for a lack of vision, wrote my parents about the prospect of getting my vision checked, and soon I was off to the optometrist. In 1961, things were different when it came to eyeglass frames for girls. There were not racks and racks of potential choices; basically you could get the pink pointy mother-of-pearl frames, or you could get the blue ones. I decided to have the blues. Either way, you looked lame, and you just learned to live with it. What made it even tougher was that my optometrist, Dr. Krueger, wanted to try something that no one was doing, and that was making third graders wear bi-focals. Bi-focals! Clearly I am scarred for life.
What does this analogy have to do with 2020? Several things. The first is that humans were made to see clearly, and will do just about anything in order to see well, including looking lame by eight-year-old standards. So, my question to you in this early part of what is bound to be a momentous year as well as decade is this: What are you willing to do in order to “see” clearly? Mind you, there is no shame in needing help with seeing, and I suppose there is a certain badge of honor in adapting to bi-focals as a kid in order to be able to do so, but if your vision for your life has gone fuzzy, it’s time to do something about it.
The second is that you have to narrow down your choices when it comes to “choosing your frame.” I didn’t have that problem back in 1961; it was either pink or blue, shiny and stupid-looking. That part of the process was over quickly, and I didn’t get the chance to obsess over how I looked. Today we are overwhelmed by too many choices in every arena of life—food, clothes, churches, books, media, cars, channels, classes, degrees, investments, relationships, travel, and, yes, frames for our spectacles. Streamline and only let in the things that work and the things that are true.
The third is, according to the One who loves you the most, not bothering to have clear vision can be fatal. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Most often this quote from Proverbs is used to remind people to take the time to set goals, set time frames for meeting those goals, and break things down into small steps so as to avoid feeling overwhelmed. That is all well and good, but sadly, what happens often is that the second part of that Proverb is ignored. It says, “But he that keeps the law, happy is he.” Wait, what? You mean this is not all about self-realization and navel-gazing? Nope, there is a hitch, and that hitch is designed to make you happy and keep you safe. We know that we cannot keep the law in our own strength. There is only One who ever succeeded in doing that. But if we are willing to humble ourselves, even if it means looking lame for the rest of our lives in order to “see,” in the long run, we will be happy. With that in mind, dear readers, Happy New Year, and may you have clear, 20/20 vision!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner