I began to develop myopia when I was about eleven years old. It happened so suddenly, my father thought I was making it up, but after some of my teachers brought it to his attention that I wasn’t seeing the assignments on the chalkboard so well, he decided to take me to the Optometrist.
It was determined that I would need glasses, and even though my vision had deteriorated drastically in less than a year, there was no need for concern. “It happens frequently” my parents were told.
The first few years I wore glasses were a period of “on again, off again” experiences, since they kept getting broken. Because my parents couldn’t just take them to the mall for repairs, I would often go for weeks or sometimes months without them. Walking around in a blurry world is awkward, but I noticed my sense of hearing changed. It didn’t get better per se, but I was able to distinguish sounds with more accuracy. I could hear tires approaching and tell whose car it was.
By the time I had turned fifteen, I had learned how to not have broken glasses, and life settled into a sort of “normal.” When I was in my mid twenties, I got contact lenses and wore them for years until it was decided that to proceed would be detrimental to the health of my eyes.
I value my sense of sight; a gift from Creation that has allowed me to gaze upon heart-stopping beauty.
We all enjoy a sunrise or sunset; a rainbow after an afternoon or evening shower; the colours of the autumn leaves, and many of us have sights that are our personal favourites; a favourite place that holds special memories or brings a sense of peace and comfort. I have such a special place, a turn in the Nashwaak River in the village where I grew up. Sitting on that river bank, my life becomes whole again, the troubles seem to float away, with the ripples on the water. [Check out the attached video to share my bliss.]
Sight can also offer warnings. I have seen movement from the corner of my eye while driving and applied my brakes in time to avoid a collision with another vehicle. I have likewise been able to avoid attack from various dogs, people and falling objects while walking.
Sight can be descriptive: There are people who are not articulate enough to describe something, but can sketch it out and make others understand it. We can recognize our friends from afar by the way they move, or the colour of their favourite piece of clothing, or some other distinguishing feature.
The previously mentioned spot on the river bank or sunrises etc are but a few examples of how sight can bring us joy and peace. I love the sight of a well set table before a meal, even if the food has yet to appear. A well-kept lawn, especially if large trees are integrated, often makes me pause to enjoy the sight. Cars, motorcycles, drumsets, animals, architecture, can all be sources of enjoyment for me. However, these are subjective, and certainly not all examples have the same effect. It is odd how one building or car can strike my fancy, take me into a state of near reverie, while another of similar style gets barely a glance.
The same goes for people; especially those who are revered for their good looks, such as the celebrities on TV and in films. Sometimes I agree with these assessments, other times I do not. Yet, I know many “ordinary” people who have beauty beyond description. In some cases, a person may have no particularly outstanding physical beauty, but the beauty of their personality or spirit becomes associated with their appearance. This inner beauty is often so profound that the external body takes on a radiance that would be lacking otherwise. When such a person comes in sight, it is as if a Hollywood red carpet has been rolled out. The sight of a cherished friend can warm my heart and turn a bad day into a memorably wonderful experience.
Conversely, there are people who we are not overly thrilled to see. Their presence fills us with negative feelings, depression, fear or even loathing. Usually again it is not that they are ugly (some really attractive people still manage to make me feel disgust) but that their personality becomes associated with their outward appearance. Over time, I begin to feel apprehension at the appearance of said people.
Looking into the eyes or upon the face of someone very special, seeing a friend on the sidewalk or in the mall while shopping, gazing at a stunning sunset or a forest of autumn leaves, window shopping for a new car…. These are just some of the ways our sense of sight can bring us pleasure. What does it for you? What are the things you look at that make your heart skip a beat or take your breath for a moment? I’d love to hear from you.