Following the North American Convention, I celebrated July 1 with the removal of a cataract from my right eye. After a week of dining hall duty at Warner Memorial Family Camp, I’m ending July with cataract removal in my left eye.
Dr. Stout found me “wiggly and talkative” the first time, a better patient the 2nd time around. Such an eye procedure is now more a minor happenstance, in no way comparing with my mate’s 17 stents and CHF complications. In both cases, he performed his tasks with patience and skill. My greatly-improved eyesight is enough to please Dr. Stout with what he achieved.
A devout Catholic, Randy Stout is one of four partners at our Southwest Eye Clinic. All are devout Christians; the Senior Partner (who did my wife) is a devoted Wesleyan. He works enough to maintain his livelihood and devotes the remainder of his time to short-term Medical Missions.
Although I spent much of my life in hospital visitation, I had only minimal experience with my own physical rehabilitation. Thus, it was with interest that I approached the delicacy of repairing my eyes. I have thought often of all the things that could happen in the aging process; within I always thought, “I’d rather lose anything, but my eyesight.”
I came through this month with new appreciation for the strong skills and knowledgeable caring of these Men of Medicine. It creates a 7.6 Richter scale earthquake of appreciation within my mental and emotional processes. Such delicate work boggles my mind. Even more, it heightens my sense of obligation to God, both for His “Amazing Grace” and for the generous blessings life has shared with me.
It makes me aware of people who lack such blessings. Many live in places that offer few of the benefits I take for granted. It ignites an awesome sense of gratitude within. Like everyone else, I complain about $4 a gallon gasoline, and other such absurdities. Yet, honesty requires that I confess that at the poorest levels of my life, I am wealthier and far more blessed than many who live elsewhere - if for no other reason, just because I was born in America.
I read once about the “Chaff Finch,” a Robin-sized songbird that brings its beautiful song from Europe. People delight in its pleasing melody. Yet, people find it has one misfortunate characteristic--it occasionally forgets how to sing. The forgetful little Finch sometimes needs an understanding friend to carry it back into the woods, where the wild birds teach it to remember its song. If it does not re-learn its song, it may die of depression.
The push and shove of daily life sometimes gets depressing and disorienting. Like the Chaff Finch, we may forget to sing our songs of gratitude. After wearing trifocal glasses for 34 years, I am delighted with my renewed sight (20/20 in one eye and at least 25/20 in the other). It is a new opportunity to stay productive, writing and serving for a few more years, and at this late date, it appears I will only need minor help for reading (time will tell).
The church helps us rediscover God’s music of grace and hope. Walking with God, we learn to sing again. Once again, life becomes worth living. My lifelong friends, Wade and Betty Jakeway, used to sing a composition Wade wrote entitled “I Learned to Live Again. In their faith, they found hope--a bright new tomorrow with God-and-others--the place where I want to spend the rest of my life.
Filled with gratitude, Wayne