September 1, 2017

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Take time, try to see things through God’s lens, not your own

Patti LambRecently, our seventh-grade son got contacts. This is big news in our household, as he’s been attempting to wear contacts for a long time.

Since contacts are considered a medical device, Henry had to successfully put them in and take them out multiple times at the optometrist’s office before he could go home with his own pair.

After another failed try with the technician at the eye doctor’s office, Henry was nearing his third strike for this year’s allowed number of attempts. He was on a mission. Week after week, he stood in front of the mirror as he practiced touching his eyeballs to get used to the process.

The day he successfully proved that he could put in and take out contacts is especially memorable. I enjoyed witnessing his sense of accomplishment and confidence. Even more memorable was his reaction when we arrived home after his appointment.

He was giddy. Henry looked outside and told me that he’s never seen so clearly. He expressed joy in noticing delineation in the tree leaves and grass blades. His peripheral vision significantly improved.

“Mom!” he squealed with excitement. “I know this sounds silly, but it’s like I have new eyes. I’ve never seen so clearly before, and these lenses make all the difference.” (After his eye exam, his prescription increased a bit in one eye, which probably helped.)

His joy was contagious, and we celebrated God’s gift of sight, something we often take for granted.

Fast forward a few weeks to a rather low week at work for me. I vented to my sister about the antics of the workweek, and she listened graciously.

She gently recommended that I view the week’s events through God’s eyes—through God’s lens—taking into consideration the hearts of others involved.

“Maybe there are things going on in his life that you don’t know about … things only God knows about,” she said.

I told her that I heard her, but I was not “there yet.”

A few days later, my sister stopped by out of nowhere, wishing to share a book she read recently and wanted me to experience.

It was an easy read, and I made it to page 30 before bed that night.

Page 30’s entry was titled, “What Would Love Do?” It reminded me of the “WWJD” (“What would Jesus do?”) bracelets that were popular a few years ago.

The reminder for the day went like this: When reading, I substituted the word “Love” for “Jesus”:

“… In a culture quick to judge, attack and ridicule, I want to be quick to be kind. I want to be a representative for love. I want to be a living example of what love can do when it is chosen again and again. Not only are my family members watching, learning and following my lead, but I have to live with myself. I’d like to end this day [and someday, my life] knowing I made my little part of the world a more loving place.” (Excerpt from Only Love Today by Rachel Macy Stafford)

After more work-related internal strife, I decided to start praying for the co-worker causing my distress. Henry’s lens adjustment inspired me.

“God, please help me to see through your lens, not mine,” I prayed.

Shortly after, I learned of heavy crosses my co-worker has been carrying. Simply put, my heart was moved.

To quote my 12-year-old: “It’s like I have new eyes. These lenses make all the difference.”

My favorite new prayer is: “Lord, help us to see like you.”

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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