Bifocals. I got them in my fiftieth year after resisting them for a full year. Now, a year later, I'm still not used to them. They irritate me as often as they delight me. There are times when I love having the specialized lenses that make both reading and driving easier (and safer!); but because I don't wear them all the time like I should, the shifting back and forth between the top and bottom half is still a moderate annoyance. I find myself looking out at the road through the wrong half if they're not perched just right, and it looks like I'm driving in the ocean. Then I try to read something on my computer through the top half and I wonder where the print went. No, I haven't yet gotten the glasses with THREE lenses, and neither of the ones I have work for the mid-distance of the laptop screen. And I haven't had the patience to work it all out and make sure I'm always looking through the right lens.
Ah. . .it sounds a lot like my life.
I need bifocals. Not just for my deteriorating retinas, but for my life.
In my public speaking I've done a lot of talking about looking at our children, our lives, through "long distance glasses," teaching young moms to make sure they're focusing on the long look at the big picture when their days seemed to be filled with small things. Many days I still need to be reminded of this. I'm looking through the reading half of my life lenses, and all I see are the small things. Dishes. Doctor appointments. Grammar lessons. Scissor tracks in my tablecloth. Birthday cards. It's very necessary for me to look through the lens that allows me to see these things clearly, because they're important. I want to take the attention with the small things that will form memories for my children and for me, the things that end up making up the big picture. But when I'm too focused on the small things, I look up for the big picture and it's a blur. It's an ocean in front of me and I've lost the ability to see it clearly. My attitudes get petty and my efforts become scattered. Life is incoherent.
On the other hand, there are days (and months, if I'm honest) that I'm so enamored of the big picture that the little things, the close-in view, gets neglected. I'm looking toward and planning for the future, imagining what things could be like in ten years and what I want to be building for eternity. . .I'm definitely wearing my long-distance lenses. And I look down at today's lessons or a pile of towels or the thawing hamburger and they're a blur. An annoyance. I've lost sight of how important they all are to the completion of the big picture.
So I need bifocals. Not just for my deteriorating retinas, but for my life. I need to work with both lenses, and maybe several sets of in-between lenses, to be able to keep all the parts of my responsibilities and joys in focus. And I need to submit them to the Great Physician/Ophthalmologist for regular checkups and regrinding in some cases. There are times when I think my vision through a certain set of lenses is 20/20 but He thinks differently. Just as when I've let myself go too long between eye checkups, I get used to the blurred vision, whether short or long. Then God hands me the new lenses and I'm startled by how much I've been missing: the indispensability of the peanut butter sandwich. . .the glorious hope of an eternity with Him, and an almost infinite number of focus-levels in between. I can live my life in supermarket reading glasses, or I can train myself to look through the right lenses, all of them in their season. . .