See things my way

August 08, 2017

Tatura Uniting Church Minister Brian Spencer.

Okay, it’s been a month now, so I’ll admit it — I’ve officially lost my glasses.

Up until now I had listed them as misplaced, inadvertently put down somewhere safe, but just out of sight and clearly out of memory.

I am a recidivist misplacer of my glasses.

You see, I am short-sighted, which means I can see those things that are close to me.

So when I’m reading or working at my computer or pruning vines I don’t need my glasses and in fact they are a nuisance.

So I take them off, often just placing one arm in my mouth and hanging on to it with my teeth.

The glasses don’t get lost, but the plastic end does end up a bit chewed.

Other times I take them off and set them down on the desk, or table, or car or anywhere else that is nearby and looks safe.

So, if I have been true to form, my glasses are safe somewhere, but just where that safe place is remains a mystery.

In the meantime, I have tried a number of workarounds.

These workarounds serve to keep me patient and they stop me endlessly searching for my glasses.

I have tried to believe that my eyesight will improve if I don’t wear glasses.

I tell myself that it’s a good thing to have to strain to see things in the distance as it might make my sight improve.

It hasn’t — I just end up with sore eyes and frustrated that I can’t read the football score on the television.

I went through the kitchen drawers and found some older prescription glasses.

These ones sort of work, but I end up with sore eyes if I use them too much and it is depressing to know that my eyes are deteriorating year by year.

I’m still reluctant to go and get some new glasses as I have this feeling that the old ones will turn up the day I do so.

Did I mention that I take my glasses off to prune the vines?

In fact, that is the last time I remember having them.

It’s not much consolation, but somewhere in the midst of 20000 vines, perhaps safely hanging on a wire, my glasses are waiting to reveal themselves to someone with better eyesight than me.

While I’m pondering such things, why is it that ‘‘long-sighted’’ is a compliment and ‘‘short-sighted’’ a criticism? Short-sighted has become a metaphor to refer to thinking and decision-making that is narrow in scope or lacking in foresight or in concern for wider interests or for longer-term consequences.

It is often used to describe a decision that may be good for the short term, but bad for the future, or a viewpoint that fails to consider anything outside a narrow and limited range.

To be long-sighted or far-sighted is to be visionary in one’s thinking and behaviour, putting long-term interests ahead of short-term gain.

As a short-sighted person I find this offensive.

Long-sighted people need glasses just as much as I do and I do like to think that I take the long view with planning and organising my work.

I remember Jesus was often complaining that people around him ‘‘had eyes but do not see’’, but he wasn’t talking about being short-sighted or far-sighted.

He was talking about people who could only see things through the filter of their own world view.

Their values and assumptions about what they thought the world should be meant that they could not see God doing new things before their eyes.

His teaching, his healings and miracles were signs that the kingdom of heaven was in our very midst, but they only saw a challenge to their positions and status.

They were neither near-sighted or far-sighted.

They were refusing to see.

I believe that we can see glimpses of heaven breaking into our lives each day.

I just wish I had my glasses.

This is the gospel, and it’s good news.

— Brian Spencer, Minister,

Tatura Uniting Church

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