Last month when the eye doctor told me I needed glasses I was devastated. His pronouncement made me feel like I’d officially hit middle age. Of course, I am middle aged but I didn’t want him confirming it. Despite his fantastic chair-side manner going to see him stresses me out. I would rather have a root canal. I’m not exaggerating. With a root canal you get drugs.
Why I’m phobic about the eye doctor is hard to understand. I’m afraid of birds because I threw a rock at a crow when I was a kid, and it attacked me. I’m afraid of ladders because I fell off one as a teenager and landed on the concrete. But, I’ve never been tortured by an eye doctor, so it makes no sense.
“Do I have to?” I asked.
“Only if you want to see better,” he said.
Oh sure, when you put it that way I look like a fool if I choose not to see well. I don’t mind not being able to read the newspaper without my readers. It’s not worth reading. But driving without the distance correction I need is stupid. I wouldn’t let Chase drive without his glasses.
“You need to get some prescription sunglasses,” he said. “You know with the meds you take you can’t be without sun protection.”
Now my troubles were doubling. Bi-focals and prescription sunglasses—why don’t you just make me stop coloring my hair. Let’s get the aging process over with all at once.
His assistant could see I was upset. She put her arm around me and said, “They’re very good next door and can help you out.”
I went next door, handed them my prescription, and asked them if they could put the same kind of lenses in my existing sunglasses but with the correction. Yes they could. This offered some comfort. My rose colored glasses are the first pair of shades I’ve owned that didn’t produce headaches. They’re magic in a pair of frames.
A month later I hadn’t heard from the optical shop so I called.
“We’re having a little problem,” she said. “The first pair that came back was fuchsia so we sent them to the manufacturer instead of our lab.” Okay, no problem I thought as long as I get them eventually.
Then the call came that said, “We got your glasses back. The manufacturer put a grey lens in. The rose-colored were limited edition and can’t be made in a prescription lens.”
I wasn’t happy. How can we have a high-def screen on a cell phone and not be able to make a simple pair of polarized rose colored prescription glasses?
I drove to the optical store frustrated. I wasn’t going to accept the glasses. I’d have my rose lenses put back in. I’m a good driver. I can compensate.
The optician worked up the courage to ask me if I would at least try driving around the block with them. I did and much to my dismay I could actually see well. In fact, I found a street penny I’d have never seen without those darn glasses so now I was doomed. When I wanted to bury my head in the sand I could no longer justify it.
I went back, paid for the glasses, and left. Driving home the world felt overwhelming. The correction the lenses offered made everything I’d been seeing in low-def for so long jump out at me in high-def. I couldn’t wait to get home and take them off.
I slumped down on the couch with a heavy sigh. The metaphor hit me like a visual tsunami. Much of what I’ve had to deal with in the life of my kids lately, has only been survived by seeing it through rose colored glasses. A blind optimism has been my best friend. I’ve clung to it like those glasses.
But optimism is different than faith. At first glance, they’re similar. Both involve hope. Both reflect your outlook on life. But, where optimism requires a hopeful perspective faith does not. You don’t actually have to have hope. In fact, you can be hopeless and still filled with faith. Hope is a wonderful byproduct of faith but again, not required.
What is required? Assurance—the assurance that God, no matter how bad things look, is still in control.
Someone once asked me do you believe God or do you believe in God? What’s the difference I asked? The way you look at things.
I think in the last few months my diet of optimism hasn’t served me well. It’s hurt my faith because the minute you take the glasses off you’re blinded by reality. Instead, my eyes should just be fixed on God’s promise that He who began a good work will see it through to completion. That’s a promise I can be sure of no matter what lens I view it through.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)