nosing around

glassesI have recently experienced another sign that I am getting older. My eyes are getting worse. Just before Christmas I had them checked (fed up with plain blue/grey). The optician confirmed what I thought – my eyes (or more accurately one of my eyes) had deteriorated.

When I put on the medieval torture device that opticians use to change the lenses in front of your eyes (so you can read the letters on the far wall) and the optician put the correct prescription in them I started singing: “I can see clearly now the blur has gone”. Well, actually I didn’t, but I felt like  I should – the letters on the far wall were crisp and clear and I could read right down to the bottom line again.

However, there is a complication. When correcting my long sight I then lose definition in the medium and short distances needed for looking at computer screens and books. When wearing my new prescription contact lenses I can put on some reading glasses to correct the correction and read correctly, but that does not solve the medium distance issue.

The optician suggested I try varifocal glasses. I have considered this in the past but have always thought that I would struggle with them. The top part of the lens is for long distance, the middle part is for medium distance and the lower part is for reading. But there is a gradual transition between the different strengths. I could not believe that my eyes and brain could work together in harmony to get used to this. The optician had a clever set of glasses that they could use to show me how the varifocals would work and also promised that if I could not get on with them after a month I could bring them back and swap the lenses for ‘normal’ lenses.

With that promise I decided to go for it. A few days later the glasses arrived and I had them fitted. The main two pieces of advice I was given were to persevere and to point my nose in the direction I wanted to look (the edges of the glasses are not good to look through as the prescriptions are rather muddled). I took them home and started trying them out.

It has taken me a while, but I think I am now used to them. And I find them really useful. I can do all things while wearing them. For example, while driving I can look out of the windscreen and see sharp images, look over at my satnav and see it clearly, and look down at my instrument panel and see that clearly. I think the glasses may even have had a positive effect on my golf, as I have to keep my nose pointed where I want to look, which helps me keep my head still as I swing.

I am now a varifocal fan. Occasionally I find myself looking through the wrong part of the lens, but a quick head adjustment means I can see clearly again. I have a feeling I may be relying on them more and more and wearing my contact lenses less and less (although there are apparently varifocal-esque options for them too).

Today I realised how much more helpful they are than keeping on putting reading glasses on and off. I was wearing my contact lenses and meeting someone where I had to do a lot of writing. Every time I looked at the person I was meeting I had to take my reading glasses off, but every time I wanted to write something I had to put them back on. It was tiresome and inconvenient. I wished I had thought ahead and worn my varifocal glasses.

The advice to point my nose in the direction in which I want to look reminded me (somehow) of Jesus when we are told he ‘set his face to go to Jerusalem’ or ‘resolutely set out for Jerusalem’. Perhaps a modern version ought to be that he ‘pointed his nose toward Jerusalem’. Jesus knew that he had a mission to fulfil and that it would come to an earth-shattering conclusion (and new beginning) at Jerusalem. He knew that Jerusalem was his opponents’ stronghold. He knew that Jerusalem meant his death. But he pointed his nose in the direction in which he wanted to go. He was determined.

When we know what God wants us to do, we need to ask his Spirit to give us that same steely determination and resolution to carry it out. It may not be easy. It may not be enjoyable. But if it’s what God wants us to do it’s worth doing.

Where are you pointing your nose today?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

Judy rushed in to see her doctor, looking very worried and all strung out. She rattled off, “Doctor, take a look at me. When I woke up this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my hair all wiry and frazzled up, my skin was all wrinkled and pasty, my eyes were bloodshot and bugging out, and I had this corpse-like look on my face! What’s wrong with me, Doctor?”

The doctor looked her over for a couple of moments, then calmly said, “Well, I can tell you that there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”