Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two Eyes

There are so many huge things going on in our world today:  The election, the war, the horrible disaster in Myanmar.  I'm thinking of a small thing -- an itty bitty thing that affects nobody else but me.  And yet, as John Adams was reported to say in his last days, as we age, our worlds shrink, and the big seems not so important, while the minute assumes great significance.

Or maybe I'm just being self-centered.

Either way, I'm thinking about my new contact lenses.  I've been wearing glasses for about 41 years.  This week I got fitted for contact lenses and am wearing them as I write.  I can't say it's a horrible experience, but I can't say it's entirely pleasant either.

In fact, if I hadn't closed the bathroom door while putting them in, my kids might have learned a few new words and then been grounded for repeating them.  Taking them out is even harder.  

At times, I hardly noticing they are there and wondering that I can see without that burdensome frame resting on my face.  I look around and think, "Everywhere I look is clear."  At other times, it seems hard to see straight at all -- things get blurry, my eyes itch, and I blink every second-and-a-half.  

What was my motivation, in middle age, for contacts?  Well, swimming (with goggles only, the opthamologist says), and hockey.  I've long wanted to swim and see what's down under the water.  A couple of years ago we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go snorkeling in the Bahamas, and all that beauty lay there waiting for us to take it it.  All I could see was the little fish who deigned to come close.

When I play hockey, I'm good for about five minutes before my glasses begin to fog up.  This is one way to be able to see the game.  

Most troubling about the experiment (aside from the money), is that I constantly feel my face for where my glasses should be.  It's like something has been amputated.  As irritating and painful (especially to my ears) as glasses have been, it seems they are part of me, and I'm having a hard time letting go.

Oh well, letting go is always a challenge for us, isn't it?  But to let go of one thing we're used to (even if it's painful or even harmful) opens up for us opportunities, and the idea of seeing even under water means something to me.

By the way, another thing these contacts have done:  for the first time in my adult life, I was able to look in the mirror and see my own face, all by itself.  Regardless of how the experiment turns out, that's exciting.