The resiliency of the human body and psyche is amazing. Our son had a severe case of strabismus during his grade school years, a malady that affects the ability of the eye to focus properly. Similar to "lazy eye," one of his eyes did not naturally align itself, which caused significant vision impairment.
He managed to do well in school and to function normally, including playing sports. In baseball he was an average hitter and a good pitcher. After noticing the tendency of his eye to drift outward while the other eye remained focused, we had his vision examined; he was diagnosed with strabismus. One of the evaluating tests showed a small square and a small dot on a computer screen. His task was to place the dot inside the square using a controller. Satisfied that he had done so, we observed that the dot was on the far right side of the screen, while the square was in the center.
It is amazing that he was able to function normally, much less do well in school and sports. The condition was treated with twice-weekly light therapy sessions and special eye glasses for nearly a full year. As an adult, his vision is normal and eye glasses are not needed.
Similarly, I have been compensating my vision as cataracts have developed over the last couple of years. I had forgotten what it was like to see things clearly, having learned to do the best with what I had. Objects in my vision are not only unclear, but have two and sometimes three 'ghost' images as well.
One day after my first cataract was removed, I was truly amazed at how clearly objects appeared. My vision went from 20/60 to 20/20 in that first eye. I anxiously anticipate the second procedure in a couple of weeks.
We all have areas of difficulty in our lives where weaknesses have impacted our ability to function normally. Be it physical, financial, emotional, relational, or even spiritual, we have learned to compensate for our impairments to the point that we can follow our daily routine with seemingly little dysfunction. We become accustomed to that condition and learn to live with it.
In some instances we really have no choice. Many times, however, we tend to settle for less than the best rather than do what is necessary to affect change. Why would anyone want to continue with vision that cannot distinguish significant details of an object when there is a remedy for that condition? Why would anyone choose to live in mediocrity when something more is attainable?
I am reminded of the once prominent Serenity Prayer that declares, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." What are the things that greatly impair or stress your life right now? Too often, we accept adversity as a way of life when, in fact, there are measures that could be taken to alleviate at least some of the negative impact.
In a casual greeting we might say to another person, "I hope you have a good day." Years ago there was a radio program that concluded each episode with this quip: "Go out and make it a good day." In other words, do not wait for the 'good' to come to you; instead, choose to seek and pursue goodness. Do you have the desire and the discipline to change the things that are changeable in your life?
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.