Seeing through a New Lens

January 6, 2017


     Saturday night, I brought in the new year in Mount Vernon at my father's church. We stood in a circle around the entire sanctuary hand in hand singing A capella and raising our voices up in prayer.  I remember thinking how beautiful the harmonies sounded singing as a choir with God as our audience. I have crossed into the new year in that fashion for as long as I can remember, missing it once or twice in my whole life. It all ended with a big "Happy New Year" from our pastor, my father.  


     Earlier that day, I had rushed to finish packing so I could get on a Greyhound bus from Albany to New York City and then on a Metro North train to get home. I was in such a hurry that I remembered everything except my glasses. I wear contacts but I always bring a pair of glasses for when I take my contacts out at night. On the bus it crossed my mind that I had forgotten them but when I got to my parents' house my left eye got irritated.  I couldn't understand why. It was itchy and watery. I went to the bathroom and took my contact out to look closely at it. Lo and behold my contact had split a little. Well, I had no glasses and quite frankly, I do not see well without an aid so I cleaned it and put the contact lens back in my eye. Needless to say, that probably wasn't the brightest idea.  I found that out sitting in the church trying to ignore the irritation. It got so bad I decided to trash the contact lens and then attempt to function with the one left in my right eye. 


     One eye was completely blurry and the other eye was 20/20 and I wouldn't be back in my apartment until the next evening so I would have to muddle through. It made my head hurt.  I think my brain was trying to decide on which eye to see through and it just wasn't making sense. 


     We left the church after midnight and didn't get home until after 1 am. I was so thankful to sleep some. In the morning, our tired bodies returned to church. The rows were filled to capacity. Even my six year old goddaughter looked up at me during the service and said, "There's so many people!" to which I nodded yes with a smile. Right before communion four people walked in and walked out with a look of confusion on their faces. They had walked into a Haitian church without knowing and were gone before I could think about offering to translate. I was still concerned with seeing through one eye. It had completely thrown me off but I noticed that somehow I had adjusted to the chaos of how I was physically seeing things. 

     Looking back now, it's the funniest thing trying to see with one eye when I have two! Still, it was uncomfortable. When I was a child, I got called 'four eyes' and now I was walking around with three but it's that third eye that forced me to look inward. I have been thinking about it all week as if it's a metaphor for my life. In some ways, I have complete clarity about what I want to do with my life and sometimes I resist the potential of seeing the whole vision with both eyes. An even bigger lesson for me though was that on the second day, I was less uncomfortable.  I started thinking what if I went a week with one contact lens. How complacent would I become with my discomfort? 


     I have to be honest with myself. I allow myself to suffer through unnecessary discomfort especially when I have all the tools I need available to prevent the discomfort in the first place. What am I talking about? I'm talking about relationships I should have let go sooner, jobs I stayed too long at, and all the times I pushed my dreams away with some kind of rationale about not enough time or money or energy or I know it's time to go but I keep putting the same broken contact in my eye. Breaking through my personal barriers is an ongoing process.  It's one of the reasons I started my #threesixtyfive challenge of doing one productive thing a day towards my passion and purpose particularly as an artist. It's also the reason, I decided to start doing #52essays2017. I need to dig deeper to see clearer. It's not enough to settle on letting my blurry indecisiveness fueled by resistance adversely affect what's already been made clear to me. I am an artist. I am a writer. I want my work to be meaningful and inspiring.


     I'm sitting here with my glasses on typing this up and feeling like for once I want to embrace it all.  I will be deliberate about not allowing a blurry eye blur the whole vision.  My potential and my success depend on it. 

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