Posted by: Robin | May 13, 2008

“Man Makes Plans; God Laughs”

One thing growing up above a funeral home teaches a person is that life can change on a dime. This past Friday I discovered that my mental list–from the mundane to the catastrophic–of the things that might send the future I expect into the toilet is woefully inadequate and an exercise in black humor. It is just another way to try to control things, but I can’t. I’m too limited. Not in a hundred years would I have thought that in the middle of an everyday conversation, with no pain and little warning, the vision in one of my eyes would turn to mist. So instead of spending Friday night with friends and Saturday at a kayaking seminar, I spent Friday afternoon in an emergency room and Friday night having emergency outpatient eye surgery for a retinal tear. For the next week at least I sleep partially upright and sit with my head at a weird angle. And the vision in my right eye will take weeks, if not months to return clearly, well after the tear is healed.

As far as things that can go wrong with our eyes, this one is fixable and will only involve discomfort, feeling off balance for a while, and being patient. I am near a top tier eye hospital, and my family is picking up the slack while I recover this week. As the adage goes, “Things could be worse.” Much worse. It hasn’t been fun, but it has reminded me of how much is precious in my life, and how grateful I am for the Lord’s strength, for people who love me, for excellent doctors, for my craftmatic bed and for my sight. I’m not sure why living fully in the present is such a difficult lesson, requiring constant repetition. Maybe it’s part of being amphibian creatures, as C.S. Lewis calls us in The Screwtape Letters, eternal souls living in finite, mortal bodies, one foot in time and one foot in eternity. Our life in time is fragile, and we should not expect otherwise, but it is also a gift.

So I’m in school again, relearning this life lesson once again and in new ways. But as an aside, if you see black or lightning squiggles out of your peripheral vision, go immediately to an opthamologist, and if the vision in one eye goes to mist get to an emergency room. Usually between fifty and sixty the gel in our eyes liquefy and shrink a little, sometimes pulling tissue with it. I’d never heard of this before. Maybe my experience will help someone out there be forewarned and forearmed. Meanwhile my daughter is calling me Cyclops. Did I mention I’m learning humility, too?

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