“[Sin] is a blindness of the spirit, which prevents us from seeing what is most important, from fixing our gaze on the love that gives us life. This blindness leads us little by little to dwell on what is superficial, until we are indifferent to others and to what is good.”
– Pope Francis
I have needed to wear glasses since the fourth grade. I remember counting the days until I was old enough to wear contact lenses. The glasses were heavy. Kids made fun of me. The only slightly positive aspect of wearing glasses was that I believed the glasses prevented me from being good at sports. My siblings would say that was the least of my problems in that department. Being able to wear contacts, especially as a teenager, helped a lot with my self-esteem. Yet, I still hated the few times I would have to put on my spectacles. To this day, I get annoyed that anytime I swim underwater or get up in the middle of the night with one of the kids, my eyesight (or lack thereof) is an issue. So, this year I decided I would take the plunge and get Lasik surgery.
The worst part of my preparation was that I wasn’t allowed to wear my contacts for two weeks leading up to the procedure. I dreaded those two weeks, even though glasses are now considered a fashion accessory and a couple of years ago my wife picked out some “cool” glasses for me that I never wear. It was as if I was afraid that every person who would notice my glasses would follow their observation with something that a cruel kid said to me in fourth grade. On the contrary, every observation of my glasses in those two weeks was followed by a compliment. In fact, when my kids asked why I was wearing my glasses so much and I told them of my decision, they all were disappointed. My older girls told me “They make you look smarter than you are,” clarified by even more affirmation, “No, they make you look closer to how smart you think you are.” Even the six-year-old started to cry at the prospect that I wouldn’t wear my glasses anymore. The kids and my wife reminisced endearingly about little moments from the past when I wore my glasses. It was enough to make me call and see if I could cancel the procedure. After I was told the deposit was non-refundable (and when my lenses kept fogging up after having to wear a mask and glasses) I recommitted to my path.
As I sat awaiting my turn for surgery and watching a waiting room full of people leave and return with their sight restored, I couldn’t help but think of all the affirmation I received for one of the things I have liked least about myself: my glasses. In my life and leadership, what else am I seeing so differently than those who surround me? What in my past keeps my vision fixated in the rear-view? What can I not see in the mirror (good or bad) that others are trying to reflect back to me? I’m told that, despite my new perspective, I’ll probably still need some readers as I get “wiser.” Let us pray as we enter this holiest of weeks, we can refract how we see ourselves and others to be aligned to how our Lord sees us – as worthy of His sacrifice on the cross. May you have a blessed Triduum and a very Happy Easter!
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