I’ve acquired my first pair of glasses. They are “for occasional use,” according to the doctor: for nighttime driving and, if I prefer, for movies and books.
One eye is far-sighted and the other near-sighted, and the analogy to the bifocal nature of living as a Christian is too plain to miss. I’m reminded every time I take these glasses off that this combination makes for a dizzying perspective on the world. My mind wears itself out trying to concentrate on things close by and in the distance, the way my soul sometimes struggles to keep my earthly environs and “the something else of which they are only a kind of copy” (Lewis, Mere Christianity) in right relation to each other.
But, in one of those rare moments when the inward and outward find relief in the same place, I spent 45 minutes on Tuesday in a dim room while the girls had their reading hour. Eyes closed — head bowed — words and wordless depths spilling out in whispers and at times onto a page as I gave all my focus to listening. And there I remembered all that usually stands in danger of becoming blurred and distorted: I remembered my unearned standing and redemption, the sovereignty of my King, the voice of His Counselor, and the open-air joy of creating for His pleasure.
The two modes of vision are still in tension today. I know they will remain so for whatever years and months and hours are left to me. But the old, beautiful verse woven through so much of our family history holds firm: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2a, NIV 1984).
He is the constant that will keep my double vision from wavering and collapsing. He is the single fixed point that anchors both the present moment and eternal reality, the point of convergence of all things seen and unseen.
And when, on gray days, one side of my heart tells me that the present is all too real and the other tells me that the great healing joy is too far off, His presence steadies both images and calls me to courage. My eyes flash with revived keenness to take in these two sights, the Now and the Made-New, for I recognize them again as the Kingdom-views they are —
And, ah, what a day it will be when they merge.