Seeing Spots

I’ve been seeing spots lately.

I have PVD in both eyes (that’s posterior vitreous detachment for the medically curious). 

The short story is that several years ago I took a faceplant on asphalt which resulted in a few juicy abrasions, a split lip, and PVD. For days I told the story that I was involved in Clergy Fight Club… it was brutal.

PVD is generally a normal part of aging with most folks learning they have it in their 60’s or 70’s. It presents as floaters – with some large enough to make vision blurry. I’ve always had floaters (a gift from Dad’s side of the family), but these new swarms of spots were dark and omnipresent. My optometrist (following a polite laugh at my Clergy Fight Club story) was encouraging. He explained that although these new additions to my vision were permanent, my brain would learn to see around them.

Within days my brain had figured out to ignore the spots. They are still there… if I think about them, I can see them, but most of the time I see beyond them.

Our minds quickly normalize things the way living in a space for a bit allows you to no longer see the paint smudges on the molding. We learn to look beyond.

There are times when this ability is a gift. When my spouse tells me I look beautiful early in the morning, while I’m wearing an old bathrobe and my hair resembles a nest, he’s not commenting on what he’s actually seeing. It’s not just an act of self-preservation on his part, but an ability to see beyond what he’s currently seeing. 

There are other times when this ability means we are able to look beyond the work that needs to be done. When trauma occurs (one psychologist calls them “environmental jolts”) our vision clears temporarily. This pandemic is one of those times.

As we begin to (hopefully) emerge from a time of pandemic we are in a tender place where, if we are intentional, for a short time we may see differently. Not with our eyes, necessarily, but with our heart, minds, and creativity. We may see where there is injustice. We may see where old ways and patterns have been continued out of habit. We may see where there are great needs… where we are being called to move and act.

We may be able to see the spots (logs) in our own eyes and respond faithfully.

Open your eyes, your ears, your heart. 

Let those who have eyes to see…

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