Thursday, December 4, 2008

Astigmatism

I just happened to find some old files on my hard drive that I thought were lost among several computer crashes long ago. Ironically, this one is from 2004, midway through my college career. Ah, blissful ignorance....


Our lives are filled with many imperfections, some of which involve our vision. I don’t know if these imperfections always existed, but it seems like with each generation, there are more people that come to need some sort of vision correction. One of the causes of vision-impairment is astigmatism. The medical condition of astigmatism implies vision impairment due to a misshapen cornea. The cornea is responsible for rendering the image that we perceive. If it is not perfectly shaped, our point of focus in the eye is misaligned, causing nearsightedness or farsightedness. Perhaps the increasing number of people with astigmatism is the result of our good friend, genetics. All I know is that I am one of those people that live with the disorder.

In any matter, the concept of astigmatism spans across multiple domains. If any feature of the human body, or mind, for that matter, is misshapen, the result is some sort of defect in what our capabilities are. For instance, as with the cornea in the eye, if the heart is enlarged, it subsequently results in adverse conditions in the whole body, such as lower blood pressure and increased fatigue. We can safely state that something that is misshapen causes some sort of effect that is not up to par with its potential.

Perhaps some of our problems in society could be the result of astigmatism. Am I saying that the world’s problems are found in the misshapen corneas of man? Most certainly not. Our astigmatism as a race involves misshapen foresight of what life truly is. It seems like man is overly-concerned with issues that have no ultimate weight; for example, business. Even our worldview that is fashioned by political factions gives us a skewed perception of the world. Is the world centered around the debate on abortion? Instead of making a lasting effect, the debate has caused more problems than solutions. Virtually everything our society is based on is some sort of misshapen set of thinking. Do we really have foresight into the future, let alone foresight into the present age we live in? I believe that in our day and age, to be completely blind would be more insightful than we are now.

When reading the Bible, it seems like so many people in the past in fact did have a good perspective on their present live and seemed to also be prepared for the future. But was this because their inherent characters were less flawed than ours today? Logically thinking, it is quite doubtful. Man has made poor decisions throughout history. Take Adam for instance: the first man to suffer from bad judgment. God didn’t make us perfect, but rather, he gave man the ability to make his own choices. Though it was not a defect in creation, man was created with limitations, like every other creature. Adam was given the choice to trust in the guidance of God, or to live a life of survival, trusting only the limited perception that was given to him. As ambassador for the race of man, Adam chose the latter, resulting in the subsequent astigmatism of mankind.

As descendants of fallen Adam, we too struggle to see in a world of perceived darkness. Our lives seem to be obscure and we often are at loss for an adequate sense of purpose. Other times we find that those around us think they know what pieces of the puzzle fit. Our government, whether lead by the Democratic or Republic party, reminds me of the unlearned toddler, trying to push the square box in the round hole. When they encounter trouble making the piece fit, the byproduct is disputing and disunity. The truth is, any man-led organization is bound for the same fate, which may never change. The majority of society suffers from nearsightedness: only being able to perceive that which is in front of them. When it comes to anything that is outside of their reach, they only see a blurry haze. Neon-light signs that clearly show the future appear as a blur, and in their attempt to discern the sign, they invent their own sign from what they judge the neon sign to say. Everyone has had that feeling; trying to figure out what letters are on the next line of the chart at the eye doctor’s office. Is it a D or a P? Maybe it’s an O? Well, it turns out you were all wrong. It was a B. The Doctor makes a note in your file.

And then there are the people that think they have the whole religion thing figured out. They’ve found Jesus, and subsequently, they’ve found insight into the future. Well, it turns out that they suffer from the opposite of nearsightedness. Instead, while farsightedness gives them confidence in the future, they find despair in the present that is right in front of them. These people usually live for tomorrow. They have the answers, but they don’t know where they all fit. The piece that completes the puzzle is right in front of them, but since they are so focused on the future that the things which are right in front of them are blurred. They’re the ones that end up running into the refrigerator while looking out the window in the kitchen.

So, which is better? Farsightedness or nearsightedness? At least the nearsighted don’t feel foolish by running into things that are but inches away from them. But when it comes to long distance planning, they find themselves utterly lost. They might as well not be able to see what’s in front of them, because in the end, they find themselves somewhere they never intended to be. The farsighted, however, see better days ahead. The farsighted see a goal ahead, something to look forward to. This insight truly is a blessing, but it is of no help if they cannot avoid the pitfalls that are right in front of them. If a person cannot see that which is right in front of them, they are prone to stumble. Maybe they will reach their destination, but they will surely encounter many things that they are not prepared for.

The Doctor’s prescription: you need glasses, my friend. You need to balance your vision. The farsighted need the coke-bottle glasses that make their eyes look huge. The nearsighted need those concave lenses that show half of your face. Lenses are good, but let’s face it: you don’t wear them all the time. As Christians, corrective lenses are the first step to treating astigmatism. Putting on the lenses of our faith helps us to perceive everything that is around us with a new light. But while we are still rookies, there comes times when we take off the glasses, pop out the contacts, and try to see on our own again. I know this is an action that I find myself guilty of. I’m only nearsighted in one eye, right? And my right eye does a pretty good job on its own, right? But then what happens if some foreign material enters my good eye? Should I then be forced to stumble around until things get better?

Perhaps our ultimate goal in our relationship with God is to get laser vision correction. But realize that this is quite expensive. You have to work hard for the means to complete this procedure. Isn’t there something better that you could be doing with your time and effort? This is a question that we all face. The fact is, once we take the time and effort to get the correction, we find that life becomes more pleasurable. To receive this “laser vision correction” in our faith is to have our cornea reshaped by a precise hand. When the procedure is complete, we find ourselves with near-perfect vision. All of a sudden, we see things like God does. What can be better than being finally able to see the world as it truly is? To be transformed with the eyes of God means that we no longer have to stumble about, either due to not seeing anything but which is in front of us or by being able to see nothing but that which is far away from us.

Astigmatism. The number of people that suffer with this condition is large, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Once we have our vision corrected, we can refer others to our Doctor. We can even discuss our experience, before and after the procedure took place. The important thing is for everyone to realize that you don’t need to have a large budget to be on the way to seeing things clearly. Why not combine the capability of seeing the present with the insight of the future? To have God-like eyes is to have true wisdom in this life.

1 comment:

nickruiz said...

Some of my readers have noticed that I used the gender-inclusive "man" in this post. Blame it on my ignorance in the past. I will work more on gender-inclusiveness in the future. Thanks!