Wednesday, June 29, 2005


ViS version 1neon sign ION TrainI received a free magazine-ette in the mail the other day. It's one of those little half-sized publications. Came in a protective plastic wrap, as though the contents were precious enough to warrant that extra dose of precaution. The cover hinted at all sorts of health-related topics inside, and since, for some inexplicable reason, I've become fascinated with vitamins and blood-pressure discussions and the evils of salt, I decided to sit right down and peruse my new gift. But when I opened the cover, I saw that about every other page was a tear-out advertisement for something or other.

Since I had an opening in my schedule at that exact moment, I took to pulling out those advertisements. I was a little curious to see exactly how small the magazine-ette would become once it was pared down to actual content. Midway through my purging, I came upon an advertisement for Doubleday's Large Print Book Club. Large Print. I did a double-take, and then I thought, Why would someone send me a magazine with an offer for a book club that catered to those needing large print? It occurred to me, then, that everything I'd read to that point had been in a comfortably large print. The table of contents, ads, articles -- all had been printed a font or three larger than your normal publication.

There had to be a mistake. I'm not old enough for those kinds of offers. Surely, I thought, this thing got placed in the wrong mailbox. I found the one-page "You're invited" sheet that had been stuck inside the protective plastic cover and looked at the address label on the bottom, but even with my arms stuck way out, I couldn't get the label far enough away to read. I grabbed my reading glasses and checked again. Sure enough, my name was typed right there in miniscule letters.

I'd been targeted, identified, zeroed-in on. What did this mean? Did it mean that any day now, the girl down at Golden Corral would stop asking if any in our party got the senior discount ... and just give it to me instead??

I wondered if all the 43-year olds on my street got the magazine. Or maybe one of my sisters turned me in. They seem to delight in teasing me about the length of my arms and the lessening of my vision.

Yes ... all right, I'll admit it. Stop badgering. I'm farsighted. I just don't have the ability any more to focus on objects at the drop of a hat. My children will thrust a note under my nose and expect that I can just see it, just like that, just because it's there. Instead, I have to ricochet my head back at lightning speed and put a little distance between me and the must-read material. I have reading glasses tucked in my knitting basket, my basket of books, and the basket of magazines in the bathroom. They're by my nightstand. They're in my office drawer. They're in my purse. More often than not, I have a pair straddling the top edge of my shirt.

But faraway objects ... now that's where I excel. I'm not as skilled as my husband, but that's another story. Dave can read the "Made in Taiwan" label on the bottom of a stranger's coffee cup from across a baseball stadium. His vision is disgustingly perfect. But my faraway vision isn't bad at all. I can sit and look at clouds and mountains all day long, without even breaking a sweat.

Dave and I were talking over this whole vision issue a few days ago while driving down State Street. I happened to be looking at the clouds at that moment. Over the last few years, I've learned I can't get enough of that sight. There's just something about gazing upwards that calms me. Whatever comparatively unworthy thing I'm currently fretting over becomes automatically minimized by the sight of all that billowy beauty drifting overhead. Bills … hurt feelings … a perpetual pile of laundry … all are silenced when I gaze up.

"I'll tell you what," I said. "I'll take farsightedness over nearsightedness any day. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't see the sky."

I see a spiritual lesson in that. (And no, "see" was not intended as a pun.) If I had to choose, I'd rather have a clear focus on heaven than on the here-and-now. I'd rather set my eyes on eternity than on the temporal. It's so easy to get spiritually nearsighted and focus our eyes solely on the things we can touch and taste and experience here--and completely forget there's a sky beyond this earth, and a heaven waiting to welcome us.

The truth is, growing older is much less painful when you keep forever in your sights.

23 Comment:

At 6/29/2005 1:00 PM, Anonymous OldGuy had this to say ...

Nice story Shannon.

Unfortunately I'm nearsighted so everything more that a few feet away is a blur.

Oh well, Just means I have to use my imagination more than most :)

At 6/29/2005 1:42 PM, Blogger whaaaat! had this to say ...

Matthew 6:19-21. Really all of chapter 6 is awesome so if anyone is looking these verses up, you might as well go ahead and read the whole thing (humbleness, prayer, fasting, kingdom living, worry).
Verse 22b-23a sounds like it could apply to this post, but it would be taking it way out of context. In the NIV: If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. Uh-oh, without contacts my vision is like 20/800.

At 6/29/2005 3:07 PM, Blogger Mz. Pig had this to say ...


At 6/29/2005 4:17 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

You're funny, whaaaat! That's so deep, I'm going to need another cup of coffee while I sit and ponder your words ... :)

Thanks, Cheryl and OldGuy. And OldGuy, I like your take on nearsightedness!

At 6/29/2005 6:07 PM, Anonymous joe cool cowboy poet had this to say ...

What an interesting discussion. I too am nearsighted, but also now that that same number has hit me just a couple days ago (snicker, no it didn't just start then)but for a while now, I have found that I am having to hold things further away too. So, now I'll need bifocal contact lenses. Sighs.

At 6/29/2005 7:31 PM, Anonymous crickl had this to say ...

Shannon....I am currently the same age as you, but my birthday is looming in August. Last week I got a full sized magazine offer, wrapped in plastic, called something like "Over 40" for women. I felt just like you....WHO turned me in!? lol I threw it in the trash can, unopened with a thunk and didn't think about it again til today.

I am glad I threw it away immediately and that I was the one to get the mail that day or it could have been used by my teen girls to mock me for months!!! =)


At 6/29/2005 10:43 PM, Blogger Lori Seaborg had this to say ...

Oh, goodie, I'm in a room where I'm actually the young one (34). That is happening less and less. Still, I have horrible eyesight -- I'm nearsighted, but not even a good one at that. And I can't have my contacts out and use the laptop at the same time because the monitor has to be at my nose to see what's on it. How sorry is that!

At 6/30/2005 6:45 AM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

I'm in the same corner with Joe Cool....the "b" word (bifocal - gasp!) has already worked it's evil way into my world. Tried the glasses for awhile but am having much better luck (vanity aside) with the "b" contact lenses. Now, Shannon, all you have to wait for is the AARP card to come in the mail!! 8-)

At 6/30/2005 8:39 AM, Blogger Team Kerbel had this to say ...

I almost feel bad posting because of Lori's great relief in being the youngest in the discussion. I won't tell you how old I am, but I will tell you that I am young enough to be the resident ace of the DMV sight tests. "Read line 23 for me please..." It's amazing that sitting in front of a computer all day has such an effect on even my young eyes. You know how when you see a computer on television you can see it refreshing, the lines moving constantly down the screen? Even though our physical eyes can't pick that up, I'm sure it's probably a little harmful to stare at all day. But I could be wrong...

At 6/30/2005 9:31 AM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Hey Shannon...I have almost twelve years on you, and I can remember the exact day I discovered that my vision had shifted. I couldn't read the small print on a Tylenol bottle at the store. My arm isn't long enough anymore, and like you, I usually have reading glasses tucked everywhere--when I can find them, that is!

I loved this: "The truth is, growing older is much less painful when you keep forever in your sights." How very true. I'll put in a plug here for a book I've almost finished: HEÅVEN, by Randy Alcorn. Wonderful stuff.

Take care - keep inspiring us with your writing. I love your blog! Bonnie

At 6/30/2005 11:51 AM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

Thanks for the reminder to keep forever in sight. :)

At 6/30/2005 1:52 PM, Blogger LAMommyof3 had this to say ...

Great post! Last year when I turned 30 I suddenly realized that my arms weren't quite long enough to read the Spelling test I was giving my students. I always picked on my family because both of my parents and my little sister all wear glasses. Now the joke's on me! :)

At 6/30/2005 2:07 PM, Blogger Fran had this to say ...

So far I've escaped the need for glasses but it's only a matter of time. My Mom had been wearing bifocals for as long as I can remember but she just got implants put in. Now she doesn't need glasses at all! We tell her she has bionic eyes now.

At 6/30/2005 3:01 PM, Blogger Candice had this to say ...

It's beautiful to read a stranger's reminder to know that knowing our eternal is way more important than the here in now. I have only just found your blog, but I was also truly inspired by your post about your son almost getting hit my the mirror. Touching, and beautifully written.

Please know someone in South Carolina was touched by your words.

At 6/30/2005 3:01 PM, Blogger Candice had this to say ...

It's beautiful to read a stranger's reminder to know that knowing our eternal is way more important than the here and now. I have only just found your blog, but I was also truly inspired by your post about your son almost getting hit my the mirror. Touching, and beautifully written.

Please know someone in South Carolina was touched by your words.

At 6/30/2005 4:20 PM, Blogger QueenBee had this to say ...

I have a list of Blogs I read a few times a week, if not every day. Yours is on the top of the list...I love reading your posts! I have to ask...where do you get all of the pictures you use?

At 6/30/2005 5:57 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hi everyone! Just home from working a double-shift at the school's fireworks stand (our annual sports fundraiser). I have much to comment on!

Lori, meet the "other" younger person in the room, Simon. :) And Simon, I think you're right. I've always wondered what those lines were that you see across the monitor on TV. Now I know. And no, I don't think it can be good for you to look at that all day. I do a lot of editing on the side, and I really noticed my vision going downhill when I began taking on freelance editing jobs (in addition to my own writing).

Crickl! My birthday is in August, too ... the 5th. When is yours?

Thanks for trying to make me feel better, Jimmy, Joe LAMommieOf3 and Bonnie. It does help to know I'm not alone. Neither of my younger sisters wear reading glasses yet, but I'm waiting.

Thanks, Kim and Fran. :)

Candice, that makes it all worth it. Thanks for letting me know!

Cindy, you blessed me! And about the pictures--I search all over for free clipart and have gotten them from different sources. Some I take myself. Many I get from Microsoft's clipart page. On occasion, I find pictures that others have taken and ask permission to use them (with credit listed). It's kind of an ongoing quest. :) I've been collecting pictures for a loooong time. Blogging gave me a chance to start using them.

At 6/30/2005 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

Shannon....now that is funny, because my birthday is aug 4!

Thanks again for your writings!


At 7/01/2005 6:08 AM, Blogger Bill and Glory had this to say ...

Gee, and here I thought that glasses made people look smarter! I'm one of those fortunate types who has never known life without corrective eyewear. So I got a head start on a lot of you you have to come to grips with it later.

Happily far-sighted Glory

At 7/01/2005 11:18 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hey! Crickl--that means you're my elder by one day. Can I bring all my questions about life to you? :)

Cindy, I forgot to tell you that the picture on this post was something I generated through flickr. Go to: www.metaatem.net/words.php and type in whatever word you want. I fooled around with the dimensions to get it to fit in one line on my post (from 75 x 75 to 60 x 60).

At 10/02/2005 5:04 AM, Blogger blogdollar1 had this to say ...

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At 10/03/2005 8:42 PM, Blogger Kevin Jackson had this to say ...

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At 10/09/2005 10:36 PM, Blogger Tom Naka had this to say ...

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