Today I got new prescription glasses. Having barely left my thirties, I wasn't expecting the revenge of the forties to overtake me so soon. I have known I was in trouble for some time. Determining how much acrylic a garment has was no easy task from a label where the letters have grown so small lately. I had given up on finishing "A night to remember" and left the Titanic's passengers stranded in a fog of clouded letters that were too hard to member together. Having my eyes run from me is a frightening thing... focusing so hard, yet seeing nothing. Yes, the magnifying glass was in the kitchen, within easy grasp, but now I needed one in my bedroom, in the shower (which one's the shampoo and which is the conditioner?), in my car... Things were easier at work. The lit, magnifying orbits at each workstation make reading the petri plates a pleasure, and identifying each minute colony no small a victory. But at home... this is where the war begins and stays. This is where I have to admit that I am no longer twenty, the twenty where my eyes are free to roam the small print and rescue the aged from their prescription-bottle-label struggles.
I miss my twenty-year old eyes, when eyeglasses were practically unnecessary, except an optometrist thought it might prevent eye fatigue. I often wonder, would my eyes be better off now had I ignored his prescription and let my eyes see free? And why does this question even matter now, as if the undoing of twenty years of eyeglasses can be reversed, now that my eyes struggle through the nebulous, shrinking letters?
I miss my twenty-year old soul, too. I miss the innocence of the world that was mostly white, even though I had survived the blackness of communism in my first twelve years. There wasn't so much to sort through to get to the truth, there was no ministry of truth except in Orwell's world. There wasn't as much machinery fuelled by billions as if billions were pennies, to subtract the good and the sublime out of this world and to replace it with the unholy and the mediocre.
I miss my twenty-year old soul free from the distraction of the internet. I had no World Wide Web, no super-highway to expand my information bank with whatever morsel of knowledge I crave at any given time. At times, the internet invades me like a slow, numbing poison that dulls my reality into bites of ones and zeros and leaves me smaller, smaller. Without the internet life was beautiful, and connected, and quiet. Books-real books, not internet articles-were oasis of pleasure and rest, and lofty thought.
I would gladly renounce all this "progress" and go back to the era of my twenties, where birds were still flying and bees were not endangered. But the done cannot be undone, except in God's kingdom. Only at the Cross the stories of our lives can be done-over, as if a single letter had never been written. Only by The Blood of the One whose beginnings were not in man-plus-woman union can we know the way, the truth and the life. The ocean of His grace will heal us of regret, and rebellion will be intercepted by love in an ever-upward dance.
And thus I put on my God-lens and look at my barely-out-of-the-thirties self, knowing that nothing is really lost. Though my eyes seem to be running away from me and my food sensitivities are extra baggage from my twenties, I still swim in the same ocean of God's grace. His love still carries me through the currents of seismic change that move this earth toward apocalypse. I am still redeemed and my destination unchanged. Sure, the road has gotten a lot bumpier and the minefields more unpredictable since my starry-eyed twenties, but the same Holy Spirit holds my hand and lights my path. Together, we will make it out of this maze called life, and finally I will be able to see-no eyeglasses required.