Since I was a kid, I have been told that I have my mom’s eyes. She has beautiful eyes. They are sometimes blue and sometimes green, but they are always loving and kind. Naturally, I see any comparison to my mom’s eyes as a tremendous compliment. However, the fact that I have my mom’s eyes reveals something beyond beauty: I inherited her bad vision. We both wear contact lenses.
I’m an observant guy and a people watcher by nature, so I can’t stand not being able to see. Everywhere I go, with the exception of my few hours of sleeping, my contacts are in my eyes helping me to see. The only problem is, when you wear your contacts as much as I do, they start to get blurry and dry out over time; they become less effective until you put new ones in. Sometimes my vision actually gets worse in between doctor’s visits.
Blurry vision can, however, lead to beautiful moments. About a year ago, I went to the eye doctor and received a renewed prescription and a brand new stronger set of lenses. They suddenly allowed me to see things that I had not been able to previously see with my old, blurry outdated set. On that day, you could find me staring at leaves way up on the top of trees, amazed by how clear they looked or looking at every crack in the sidewalk wondering how I had missed them all this time.
In the same way, as the new associate pastor at Glenn, I come in with a fresh set of eyes and am able to see every single detail as if I were seeing it for the first time. Yet, I have been in churches long enough to know that over time these fresh eyes will fade. Eventually, as we settle in to a church home, we no longer see things like we used to see them. Thankfully, for most of us, any small cracks or problems that we may have once seen become blurred out by our love for the church and community found there. While for others, painful memories, disagreements long since past, or wounds not yet healed, prevent us from seeing every beautiful detail of our churches.
The beautiful and scary thing about this is that every visitor comes to us with a fresh pair of contact lenses. They have brand new eyes. They can see every small flaw and every beautiful detail. Their eyes are not yet blurred by the beautiful and heartbreaking moments that we can have when we worship and serve as a part of a community for years on end.
I realize that before I know it, I will no longer be the new pastor and my fresh lenses will begin to fade. I will need to be more diligent about seeing things with fresh eyes and hope to make this practice a regular one. I invite you to join me in the practice of using fresh eyes. Who knows what we might see!