Seeing the world through different lenses

I don’t like wearing my glasses. Fact. I never have done; I don’t like the feel of them on my face. But my eyesight is rubbish – especially when it comes to reading. I stand no chance if faced with small print or bad light! I do have contact lenses (also varifocal) and they are OK unless the light is poor and then I still struggle to read smaller print (and by small, I mean anything below a size 12 font!

Of course, like many people, I now have umpteen pairs of readers all around the house and can never put my hands on a pair when I need them.

As I say, it’s not a recent thing; even as a child I used to choose a book from the library and then look at the size of the font and know that I couldn’t possibly read it, so I put it back on the shelf. It wasn’t until I was in my adult life that I took myself off to an optician and the problem was identified: I needed glasses. But even so, I still don’t read books with small print.

That is the beauty of a Kindle for me. I can read whatever book I choose comfortably at whatever size I need. My family laugh because I get about 20 lines to a page in order to do that. I’ve become an all time large font reader! Even in church, the font I use for sermons is at least 16 and, on the Altar, it’s at least 18! This is so if I forget to put my lenses in, I can still lead the service without squinting.

A few years ago, the optician decided I needed varifocals – with a reading area towards the bottom graduating into distance at the upper end of the lens. I can’t say I’m a fan. I had to have a second special pair made for playing my piano as I can’t follow the music in my ordinary pair of varifocals. The varifocals I feel most comfortable with, bizarrely, are my sunglasses. The changing lens element in them doesn’t really trouble me, except when walking downhill. If you’ve ever worn varifocals you will understand that you daren’t look down because it feels as if the earth is coming up to meet you. Unnerving to say the least!

The fact is though, that whether I like it or not, I do need to wear glasses, or contact lenses if I’m going to be able to see and read clearly and function each day. There is no getting away from it. And I do need different lenses for different activities. For instance, I’ve just spent thirty minutes trying to play the piano without a pair, because I couldn’t remember where the ‘special’ piano pair were, and I’ve struggled with every single note! I can’t wear my readers because I would have to lean too far forward in order to clearly read the notes, and my regular varifocals would mean I have to constantly tip my head up to focus on the music and every time I try to follow the line across it blurs.

Where is all this rambling about my glasses going, you might well ask? Well, it just got me to thinking that whether we physically need to wear glasses or contact lenses, I believe we all see the world through different lenses (metaphorically speaking). What one person sees clearly, another struggles to see at all.

I recently re-watched the 1998 Robin Williams film, ‘Patch Adams’, what an amazing piece of work, I highly recommend it if you’ve never seen it. It’s good lockdown entertainment. There were certain elements of the film which really stuck with me and one of those was this fabulous line: ‘See what no one else sees, see what everyone chooses not to see…see the whole world anew each day’.

This line has just stayed with me. For me, it points to the lens we should all aspire to look at our lives through, a lens of positivity, a lens which looks for the wonder of the world in which we live and more than that, the possibilities it offers.

Yes, of course there will be times when we everything seems blurred through our eyes, as if we are looking through the wrong glasses, because of the cares that will inevitably, from time to time, weigh us down and threaten to take over our mind. But I do believe that if we persevere in looking with a lens of positivity, and searching for what others don’t see: the possibilities that every new day has to offer, we will eventually be able to really focus on the opportunities offered to us. This in turn will lead us to seeing so much more clearly and ultimately allow us to wonder at and to rejoice in this amazing, beautiful and equally crazy world in which we live.



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