Looking Through A New Lens
I went to the eye doctor today. I wear contacts and glasses and needed to update the prescription, as I've been feeling my right eye strain to see things in focus. The eye doctor happens to be someone I know and I appreciated I would be helped by someone who is skilled at her job, but also by someone who would be friendly and nice since we have mutual friends and have the beginning of a relationship ourselves.
"Cover your left eye...tell me what you can read." "Cover your right eye...what line can you read." Both contacts are out, the lines are blurry and I'm not sure what letters I'm looking at. She places various filters in front of my eyes, "1 or 2. 3 or 4." With each step, my vision becomes a bit clearer. She offers a couple different solutions for the strain I've been experiencing. I choose one and make a follow-up appointment to make sure this is the best choice to help me see clearly.
I couldn't help but think that in a way, wise advice from a trusted friend is similar to the eye doctor. We see a problem, or experience heartache and we find we can't see clearly. Our vision blurred, we find ourselves stumbling and straining for answers. My own preconceptions or grief or anger or defensiveness or self-interest may blur and mess up my seeing of a situation to the point that I'm no longer reading it for what it is.
But then...a trusted friend sits with us at our most blurry of vision - when we can't see through, can't see clearly and can't see what is right in front of us - and helps us adjust our vision by providing a new lens.
One of my best friends I've had since college commiserates with me and gets feisty whenever I tell her what's going on. I know she would fight for me (as I would for her). She makes me laugh even when I'm at my lowest. You can't tell if our tears are sadness or laughter. They're both. And I see a little more clearly when she offers me a lens of empathy.
Another of my close friends responds with such calm and grace -and, of course, as all my favorite friends do, a moment of hilarious sarcasm. She brings a lens of peace to my sight.
A friend listened to me share painful moments of my family's life last winter. When I needed advice on how to approach a tough situation I felt blindsided by, he listened with patience, wisdom and insight. He provides a lens of calm wisdom I need to hear.
And above all, the Bible encourages and strengthens. And as cliche as it may sound, the Bible is the best lens of all through which to view life. It provides a lens of truth, wisdom, peace and empathy. It directs me and clears my vision. It provides a way for me to look at life both near - in the moment - and far - ahead of me on the path of life.
Take time to thank God for friends who adjust our sight as we seek to see clearly. Thank God for new lenses.
Do you have friends who help place a new lens in front of your blurry vision?