Saturday, January 30, 2010

In and out of focus

For probably more than a year now, I've been struggling to focus. This time, it's not just a mental thing. It's physical. My glasses that help me see distances (good for driving) don't allow me to read. And nothing seems to work very well when it comes to reading what's on the computer. The last two times I've gone to the eye doctor, the visit has been more frustrating than fruitful. As a result of all that, I was still wearing (for reading) glasses that are probably five or more years old; newer glasses for driving; and switching between the two (or none) as needed.

But things changed Friday. When I was cleaning the old glasses that work best for reading, they broke across the bridge. I'm pretty sure they are not fixable. So far, I've been able to manage to read page proofs, the newspaper and even my daily devotionals, Scriptures and one other book, taking rest breaks to help avoid a major headache. Reading the computer is the hardest. I'll probably end up with neck and back strain as well as eye strain from trying to find the best angle.

So, why don't I just go to the eye doctor for an examination and then get some new glasses? Well, as I wrote above, the last two times I went have been more frustrating than fruitful. A year ago, after the previous bad experience, I did some research (and prayed, yes, I always do that, too) and felt certain the choices I made would be better this time. But probably 45 minutes into the exam, I had major doubts. I left feeling no confidence that doctor had prescribed lenses that would help, so I didn't even get new glasses.

So here I am again. I should be more desperate than ever, but I guess I'm incredibly stubborn. I'm trying to adjust to my impaired vision while making excuses for not making an appointment. (The snow; I have jury duty starting Monday; I don't know who to try this time....)

I really hope this makes no sense to anyone who might read it. I keep thinking this should be such a simple thing and that surely it would be for anyone else. Why is choosing an eye doctor, making an appointment, getting an exam and getting glasses so hard for me? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that many things in my life that seem like they should be simple are not. It seems to start with not being able to just make a decision. And that often seems related to having so many options. Some people might suggest I should go to a doctor or psychologist for help with those issues, but if I can't decide on an eye doctor, how in the world would I be able to choose one of those professionals?

For as clear (yes, clear!) as the above example makes it that I am very out of focus in many areas of my life, some things are coming into better focus for me: the importance of prayer and Bible reading; the benefits of getting enough rest; the value of a positive attitude; the rewards of simple steps of progress. That gives me hope that I'll also find enough focus to get my eyesight fixed!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I bought a mirror for my desk at work today. I've been working at my current desk since Oct. 1. When I sit facing my desk and computer, I can only see one of my co-workers without turning around. I also have to turn in my chair or look over my shoulder to see if page proofs are waiting on a shelf to be read. (Reading page proofs is one of the duties I share.) My co-workers tell me they think I have the best place, because all I see is what's outside the big bank of north and west windows. Isn't that interesting? Yes, on sunny days, it's nice. But in winter and on dreary days, a window to the darkness is hardly what someone with depressive tendencies needs. Call me crazy, but I'd rather see people.

So, I bought a mirror. I had decided to buy one before the end of October but couldn't find what I was looking for. Then a situation at work changed for a couple of months, and some of the things were moved around so I didn't have to look over my shoulder as much. But things returned to "normal" after the first of the year, and within a week. my neck was sore.

So .... the mirror. I got it so I can see whether there are proofs on the shelf, or whether a person I might need to go talk to is at his or her desk. I also like to know who it is when someone walks up behind me or is looking over my shoulder.

But even in October when I thought about getting a desk mirror, I realized there was perhaps a greater purpose for it. I'm a people person. I want to see people at work, not just the streets, houses, landscape and sky. I want to see people's eyes and smiles. And if they're not smiling, well I might just look in my mirror and smile at myself! I'm smiling just to think of it. And if for some reason I'm not feeling like smiling at work, maybe my mirror will catch that and bring a change. Here's hoping my mirror reflects only the best!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That time again

Here it is again: The seventh day. Time to publish. Unfortunately, there's another traffic jam on my creative expressway.

The week included experiences and observations that seemed worth sharing or commenting on, but when I sit down to write, the words are not there.

I think it's just a matter of time and balance and patience before the words do start flowing again.

For now, I'm grateful for continued progress at work (starting to edit some on the Web, not letting little things get me down), in relationships (doing more things with spouse, asking a friend to sing a duet with me at a church talent show), in commitments (daily Bible reading and stewardship study reading), in following through, in having fun (going to movies and basketball games) and in taking worthwhile risks.

And I'm continuing to pray for wisdom and ability to know and do God's will, one moment at a time, in all things, to His glory. That may sound trite, or it may sound cliche or it may sound too general to be of value as a prayer, but it's been my prayer for longer than I can remember now, and I see it answered many times each day. And I'm continuing to thank Him daily for His mercy, love and grace that covers my shortcomings and makes life a blessing and a joy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Buying time

I'm smiling as I realize the value of a goal I set when I started this online journal. The goal: Post at least one thing each week. For some reason, I really don't want to miss that self-imposed deadline.

So, here I am, a day early, buying time by posting something, even if it seems like nothing at all. After all, that was another guideline I established: What I posted didn't have to be substantial. I reread my initial post and was reminded of my reasons for sharing these words online. Sentences of progress continue.

Much is in my heart and on my mind that I'd like to express from observations of the past year, the white Christmas, the changing of the calendar, the start of the new year and spending precious time with family after the unexpected death of a loved one.

Each time I fulfill that basic goal of posting at least once a week, I seem to move a step closer to something. I'm simultaneously eager and patient to find out what it is!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Untitled (for now) and probably unfinished

Rich blessings of family, friendship and spirit. Sweet music of life: To hear it! To share it!

What is it about the sudden and confusing death of a loved one that makes the music richer and more powerful than ever? Precious memories. Great is God's faithfulness. Amazing grace. How great Thou art. And He will raise you up on eagle's wings.

Some of my treasured memories involve singing at church in Arkansas, knowing my dear Uncle Joe would be there to hear it. He will be greatly missed.

The last time I was in Arkansas, in August, even though Uncle Joe no longer attended that church with my brother, I made a point of letting him know I'd be singing. He said he planned to be there and seemed to look forward to it. But something came up and he didn't make it.

God willing, I will sing there again tomorrow. For Uncle Joe, for my brother and his family, for Mom and Dad, for Joe's widow, for any and all who need a touch of God's mercy, love, grace, strength, blessings and comfort in a time of deep sorrow. I pray to be a worthy instrument of God's rich music of life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Unexpected sadness

I'm not sure when I'll post again, and I'm trying to keep some basic commitments/discipline, such as posting at least once a week. So I'm posting now, while I know I can.
A day I had looked forward to since at least last October and maybe earlier finally arrived today. My brother was coming in from Arkansas so we could head a little further west to watch his daughter play basketball with her college team from Arkansas. And I can't even really write about how the day unfolded instead. Words seem cold and inadequate. I guess some things are just to be experienced, not shared in written words, perhaps. But the writer in me considers that a failure.

Maybe something I'm learning from the attempt at blogging is that writing is not my priority or calling right now. I need to focus on being present. Today I was present, to watch my niece play basketball and to share the victory with her teammates and their families and also to share some sad news with her and to be there and also make sure her teammates were there for her. My brother was not able to be there but I was able to be there anyway. And that was good.

There will be difficult days ahead, because this involves the sudden and unexpected death of an uncle, my mother's brother, who lived in Arkansas near my brother and his family. They were all very, very close, and everyone loved Uncle Joe. Many people are grieving and confused. I know and believe that God works all things for good. I also know that some things are very difficult to go through. I'm praying for all of the people touched by this, praying for grace and strength and wisdom and peace and whatever any and all of us need.

There are so many other thoughts, and I just cannot write them. I'm just continuing to pray and to praise God, because, even now, I know that great is God's faithfulness, morning by morning, moment by moment. Amen.