I received my first pair of glasses after my first eye exam as an adult.
The conversation went something like this:
“Having trouble with your vision?”
“Yes, Sir. I’ve noticed I have particular difficulty when I read my Bible. It has become more and more difficult to read over the past few months.”
“How old are you?”
“Then you need glasses; this usually happens about the time people turn 40. Let’s do the exam.”
Within a few minutes, I held a corrective prescription in hand. Within a few days, as long as I was wearing the glasses, I was back to 20/20 vision. The Bible text was appropriately large and crystal clear, even the red print.
Because vision has a tendency to deteriorate as we grow older, I visit my eye care physician in April every year. He keeps track of cataracts that probably will not require surgery for a few more years, checks the health of my eyes and adjusts my prescription as needed.
Last week I arrived for my annual appointment and felt the need to explain that I had suffered facial and head injuries in a bicycle accident nearly 11 months earlier. My primary glasses were broken and mangled in the crash, and I had been using a set of backup glasses since then. As far as I knew, my eyes had not been damaged nor had my vision been affected by the accident.
Still, I wanted the good doctor to keep an eye open – so to speak – in case he spotted even something minor.
He gave me a thorough examination and reported that he found nothing to indicate either my vision or my eyes had been affected by the crash. And the cataracts were not much different than the year before.
However, the doctor’s tech discovered when she checked the prescription on my backup glasses that they matched a 2004 prescription. I knew my vision had been a little off using these glasses but figured it was only because the frames didn’t fit quite as perfectly as my pre-smashed regular ones and that the prescription was perhaps a couple of years old at worst.
The result, the doctor told me, was that I had been operating for nearly a year with “corrected” vision that was 20/40.
In another week, when two new pairs of glasses are finished, I should be back to 20/20 vision. I guess that means that in at least one way I’ll feel like a 40-year-old again.
Whether we consider physical vision and good eyeball health or visionary planning and living, it is important for us to experience periodic – even frequent – check-ups.
Evaluating and improving visionary planning and living is inevitably more complex than an eye exam and a new prescription. It involves all of life, including family and other relationships, recreation, vocation, spiritual endeavors and more.
It was not impossible for me to go nearly a year with 20/40 vision. It wasn’t perfect. I knew my vision was a little off but I grew accustomed to it, knowing I likely would get a prescription tweak this month.
Diminished or impaired life vision can be a lot more evasive unless we are consciously diligent about it. Sometimes we do not realize we have become less visionary, or we may no longer care that we have lost our vision.
In the spiritual sense, losing vision is akin to slipping away from a close relationship with God and a firm commitment to his purposes and his will for our world.
This might be a good day for each of us to check our vision.
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.