I will never forget that one particular day somewhere in the middle of my fourth grade year that I was sure was going to be the worst day of my life–The day I stood in front of my elementary school waiting for my mom to pick me up and take me to get my first pair of glasses.
I understood that my parents and the doctor felt like I needed glasses and appreciated the fact that it was getting a little more difficult to see the blackboard. But, I didn’t feel that they understood this was social suicide. I mean it wasn’t as bad as getting braces, but in my mind’s eye I could already see the kids calling me names like “four eyes,” “poindexter,” and “nerd.” I had seen it happen to others and I knew that it was my turn. It wasn’t a matter of chance, it was simply a guaranteed eventuality.
Under duress, I went to the doctor. All smiley and nice, without a care in the world he checked to make sure the prescription was right and that the frames fit. Unfortunately they did and he invited me to hop out of his chair. I remember thinking that I liked his chair, it was safe in his chair, and I could comfortably live out the rest of my days in his chair. But my mom persisted, paid the receptionist and we left. As we opened the door to head back to the car, what I found was nothing short of amazing.
There were leaves on the trees. I had missed leaves on the trees. On my way in to the doctors office I had looked at those same trees and would have sworn they were leafless. But now I saw that I had been wrong. Driving back to the elementary school I was shocked to see how many other things were out there that I had missed.
I had forgotten that you could read a street sign before you were right next to it and that you could recognize someone before they were standing right in front of you. I had forgotten how vibrant colors were and that the teachers writing wasn’t blurry for everyone behind the first row. I had forgotten how easy it was to hit a baseball and how easy it was to avoid a dodgeball. My eyesight had become so bad, so slowly, that I had forgotten all the wonderful important things there were to see in the world.
If we aren’t careful the same thing happens to us. Slowly, and without even noticing, important things in our lives can begin to blur. Then, before we know it, we forget to notice the needs of the people around us. We forget to perceive the unique and important qualities in people that surround us. We forget to see their vibrant personalities. We forget to see how amazing and gifted our loved ones are. And, if not careful, we can even forget to see our own talents and abilities.
Let’s remember then that four eyes are better than two. That sometimes it’s helpful to take a break, make sure our prescription is right, and that our frames fit so we don’t miss the leaves on the trees, the signs in our lives and the people along the way.