Around December 2007, about a month after we had moved to Union City, TN, I started noticing that my vision wasn’t quite as good as it used to be. The first sign was the fact that I couldn’t read the Bottom Line anymore on ESPN. It was terrible! I needed to be able to keep up with all the SEC football scores as the bowl season was approaching! The second sign was that when I went to get my new Tennessee driver’s license, I didn’t pass the vision test. Having to trade in my beloved Alabama license for a Tennessee license was dramatic enough, without being told I can no longer drive unless I’m wearing my glasses!
Now, it’s not like my vision had been perfect all my life, and then all the sudden, it was going bad. I actually have one VERY bad eye – my right one – that has actually been called a ‘lazy eye’ at times by optometrists. So I have always had glasses, but only had to wear them when I was reading or was on the computer. But as 2008 rolled on, I realized I was wearing my glasses more and more. I couldn’t stand it!
Finally, I decided I should go see an optometrist there in Union City. Maybe it was time for contacts? The thought scared me to death! How can people put things right on their eyeballs?! But the fear of contacts was not as great as the disdain for wearing my glasses 24/7, so I went for it.
I went to see Dr. Dylan Bondurant, a young, popular eye doctor there in town. Many of my friends used him as their eye doctor. Scott had actually gone duck hunting with him in the past and said he was a good guy. So I took everyone’s advice, and made an appointment.
I go in the office, get called to the back, and the examination begins. We go through all the ‘this or that’, ‘1 or 2’, ‘clear or more clear’ questions. He’s super polite and explains to me in simple terms what is going on with my eyes. More information about my eye than anyone has ever given me, of which I am grateful. And then came the sinker: he basically said, “Mrs. Smyth, when women reach their mid-30’s, their vision really begins to go downhill.” Now those weren’t his exact words, but it’s definitely what my mind interpreted him saying! First, the ‘Mrs. Smyth’ sort of broke my heart. Am I old enough that someone in their late 20’s needs to ‘Mrs.’ me? And then he called me ‘mid-30’s’! That one hit me right in the gut. I’m old and going blind… that’s all I could think. UGH.
So the good doctor prescribed contacts for me. He has a lady that works for him that helps teach you how to put contacts in and she was AWESOME. I wish I could remember her name so I could thank her.
Well, as life would have it when you are in the Methodist church, it was time for us to move. We moved to Latham United Methodist in Huntsville, AL. I found myself with one set of contacts left, so I scheduled an eye exam with a new optometrist. My college roommate and best friend’s sister had been an optometrist here in the Huntsville area. She recommended Dr. Tyler Amos whom she had worked with. So I went with him.
Once again, it was a young guy, really polite, and very competent. I felt blessed to have found another good eye doctor. And this guy didn’t mention anything about the ‘mid-30’s’! He gave me a slightly updated prescription for my contacts, and sent me on my way. The girls actually had eye exams that day as well, so we went ahead and rescheduled for our next annual visit for all the Smyth girls.
So I go back for my annual exam this past December. But I had noticed something over this past year happening with my vision. My contacts were great with seeing everything far away, but close up, things were really getting blurry. This had never happened to me in the past. I actually had bought a pair of reading glasses from Target to use when I was reading books or playing games on my iPad mini. That was crazy to me! I got contacts so I wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore!
So when Dr. Amos asked me if I had any concerns about my vision, I told him about not being able to see clearly up close. He proceeded to perform the examination, and what he told me really astounded me on many levels.
He told me that he could tell that my left eye (the bad one) had definitely changed some, so he was going to adjust the prescription for me. He could totally understand why my vision wasn’t clear for things up close. He said that my eyes had “finally begun to accept the correction” the contacts were trying to perform.
‘Accepting correction’ is what got me. I felt as though time stood still for a moment. That he said those words just like Smalls says ‘F-O-R-E-V-E-R’ in the Sandlot movie. My goodness! How long had people – educated, well-intended, competent people – tried to correct my vision?! For years! I got my first pair of glasses when I was in first grade. Now at age 37, the eyes finally said, “Alrighty, we’re done fighting with you, glasses and contacts. We’ll accept what you are trying to get us to do. You know best how to make us function most efficiently. We’ll stop fighting against you and work with you.” Craziness!
When I asked Dr. Amos exactly what he meant by ‘accepting correction’, this is what he explained to me. Well, it’s what I seemed to understand him saying. By ‘accepting the correction’, my eyes aren’t trying so hard to focus, but they are actually letting the contacts do more of the work. My eyes can’t do it on their own, so they are finally letting the contacts do what they are made to do. The eyes are ‘accepting the correction’ of the contacts. Now that may not be exactly how it works or even how he explained it, but it is how I understood it. And from that, the spiritual lesson began to take root in my heart. I even told him before I left, “I think there’s a sermon in all this.” 🙂
How many times has God been trying to ‘correct’ me, but I was not accepting of His correction? Oh my goodness, too many times to count, I’m sure! Especially at this current moment of my life.
My main impairment at this time is WORRY.
First, I am finding myself often worried about what the future holds for our family in light of ministry. It really hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would.
Second, I find myself worried about my girls. Their relationships with God, their ability to make friends when we have to move due to the itinerant system of the Methodist church, their education.
I also worry about my parenting. Am I being the Godly mom that I’m called to be? Am I letting the girls watch too much TV? Are they listening to too much secular music? Am I being a lazy parent when I just don’t want to fight the battle of ‘what am I going to wear to school today’?
And finally, I worry about my health. Ever since my mom passed this past April, this has been a big one. She died unexpectedly of complications due to walking pneumonia. They believe it was a heart attack. So that’s where my worries begin: Am I going to have a heart attack too? I’m built a lot like my mom. What will Scott and the girls do if I die? And of course, my weight and blood pressure have risen in the wake of all this stress and worry. And nothing I seem to do makes it better.
And there in that last sentence is the self-prescription that I’ve been trying to use: I’m trying to fix it.
So the correction that God has for me is written beautifully in Matthew 6:25-34.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
It’s time that I start accepting His correction. HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT. HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING. HE KNOWS WHAT’S BEST FOR ME. HE DELIGHTS IN ME. HE LOVES ME.