Rudy, our sixteen-week-old Golden Retriever, chewed up my eyeglasses the other day. He normally goes after shoes left out, four pair down and counting, or a particular hairbrush he’s taken a liking to, making quick work of them all with his needle-pointy, razor-sharp puppy teeth.
By the time I found my glasses on the floor the other day, Rudy had left the ear pieces rough as cobs. Worse than that, he’d twisted the frames, leaving one lens pointing a full twenty or thirty degrees off of the direction of the other. I didn’t realize it until I went to put on my glasses and looked out onto a very distorted view of the world around me.
None of us sees the world with pure, perfect vision. Reality is one thing but the way we see it, and others, is often altogether another. We see the world in which we live through the lenses we inherited or we have trained ourselves to use or have simply accepted without question. All of our lenses are twisted to some extent, twisted into distortion by painful, unresolved experiences from the past, by unchecked passions for the material, by the sin of prejudices yet unresolved or even by the unfinished business of forgiveness of self and others.
Now and then, with Rudy around, I have to check the way my view of the world is framed. It’s just part of choosing to live with a puppy in my world, no matter how tedious it becomes. To adjust the way our vision is framed so that we see the world as God sees it and to seek greater understanding of why others see the world the way they do is one of the most difficult of all Christian disciplines.
A passage from Jan Karon’s Patches of Godlight has proven to be a good spiritual optometrist for me as we approach Thanksgiving. She writes, We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God’s grace.
My vision is more clearly framed when I realize that being thankful doesn’t just mean listing out all of the things God has provided. Sometimes, our material blessings can actually discourage others whose prayers they feel God has ignored. To be a monument to God’s grace, however, means to let others see in us and through us our gratitude for how God has chosen to see us, through the purest of all vision, God’s holy eyes, the eyes of pure grace, framed in mercy and love.