At the age of 14, I got contact lenses to correct my near-sightedness and astigmatism. The happy day those little discs went into my eyes, was the day I threw my glasses away. I’ve not owned a pair since. I occasionally wear non-corrective sunglasses, but even that is rare.
It’s more than just vanity. I don’t like wearing glasses because my ears are uneven. Having one ear higher than the other isn’t noticeable, until I pop on a pair of glasses. They slant across my face, and with continued wear, rub painful raw places on the top of one ear and on the side of my nose.
In the years since, the contact lenses arrested my astigmatism and halted the worsening of my vision. I’ve never had to increase the prescription. And I’ve continued to wear hard lenses, switching to gas permeable ones 35 years ago. It’s amazing, but in 44 years I’ve only owned four pairs of contacts. It’s taken me this long to lose them all!
I was down to my last set of lenses when I broke one of them while in Scotland 18 months ago. I had a moment of panic. The trip of my lifetime, and suddenly I have one good eye! Thankfully, I discovered that my vision wasn’t all that affected by having one contact, which I switched back and forth between my eyes. This was great, as it did not negatively affect my trip. This was bad, as I felt no urgency to get a new set of lenses.
In fact, I began to wear my contact less and less. When I’m home for the day, I often go without the lens, only wearing it when I leave the house. I feel better driving with the correction the lens provides.
Two nights ago, while coloring, I removed the contact lens and placed it temporarily on the table next to me. And promptly forgot about it, for almost 24 hours. When I suddenly remembered, the lens was no where to be found.
I’ve looked for it. Several times. My very last lens is gone. Today, needing to drive this afternoon, and every day for the next week, I considered my options. My inspiration, until I can see the optometrist and get new contact lenses, was to borrow a pair of glasses from Greg. He graciously loaned me a pair that he rarely wears, and for the first time in 44 years, I sported corrective lenses today, while driving.
The frames are a bit too large for my face, but I could see clearly as I drove, which was my priority. To most people, wearing glasses is a non-issue. For me, this was huge. I have hated glasses. I have hated myself wearing glasses. I had to accept myself in glasses, without judgment, and be okay with being seen.
I picked up my grandson Dayan from school. I had intended to have the glasses off when he got into the car. But he surprised me, appearing from behind the car, and I didn’t get them off my face in time. As he slid into the front seat he asked, with surprise, if I was wearing glasses. He knows how I feel about them.
I had the opportunity to tell Dayan my story about losing my last contact lens. In sharing, I realized I wasn’t upset with myself for my carelessness, although I accept full responsibility for it. Rather, I recognize that this is a gentle nudge from the Divine to get myself to the eye doctor and get new lenses. I’m way overdue. And what a surrender for today, to accept myself, wearing glasses, uneven ears and all.
As we parked in front of the Chinese restaurant, to pick up Dayan’s customary Wednesday afternoon meal, I handed the car keys to my grandson so he could drive us to his house. “Yaya,” he said, with an encouraging smile, “you are just going with the flow.”
He’s wise, this young man. And he’s right. I am choosing to stay in the flow of life. The inspired clarity I received today improved my eyesight, allowing me to drive safely, and brought aspects of myself into sharp focus. I could see outwardly. And I got to gaze inward. Who knows? When I visit the eye doctor to order new contacts, I might even order a pair of glasses.