If we were to play a game of “my dad is better than your dad” I’d win every time. There’s no contest. My dad is remarkably similar to Ron Swanson in his love of grilled meat and ability to build things. He’s a fair boss and natural leader. He’s wise in practical matters and won’t sugar coat the truth if you ask for advice. He’s got the neutral face of a bulldog (also similar to Swanson), but I’ve seen him dance with his granddaughters while wearing a tutu on his leg, and sing hymns at the top of his lungs. He’s the rock and leader of our family.
About a year ago, my dad started having trouble with his eyes. He was diagnosed with a rare condition that caused his cornea to grow wavy. Everything he was seeing was distorted. As the months went on, the condition worsened. The only options were complex surgery, or if that was unsuccessful, a full cornea transplant. To make a very scary and arduous story short, he had the surgery in the middle of October.
There were a few days after the surgery where my father was almost entirely blind. We were all terrified of what this might mean for him and our family (and the family business) if his sight never improved.
Now let’s go back to talking about what kind of guy my dad tends to be. I’ve never seen him down for more than a day at a time. If he encounters a challenge, he just finds another way to solve the problem. He gets things done. He’s a problem solver by nature.
My almost blind father was entirely different. He was slow moving and easily frustrated. He was very quiet. He didn’t tease me for nearly a month. He spent most of his time sleeping. His loss of sight was debilitating. I’ve never fully understood how blindness can affect someone before I witnessed it affect my father.
Blindness is talked about more than once in the Bible, and I don’t think it’s because God has a soft spot for corneas. I think it’s because blindness is a big freaking deal. I can only imagine how overwhelmingly stunning it was for a man blind from birth to be healed by Jesus. He had no idea what he was missing until Jesus came along.
I worry about the blindness that might exist in my own heart. What am I unaware of? What am I missing? We can read lots of books, obtain fancy degrees and have all of the knowledge in the world, but if we’re spiritually blind, it all means nothing. We can’t understand what is right in front of us. We become like the Pharisees. We are people who can recite laws and rules, but fail to understand the heart of Jesus. We can’t see the goodness God has given us, we can’t see the brokenness in the people around us, and we fail to see Jesus in the ordinary.
Dad’s eyes are ever so slowly improving. He’s regained quite a bit of his sight, as well as his “get it done” mentality. It has been a slow process, but one that has taught us about patience, trust and thankfulness. We’re praying for his sight to fully return so he can get back to building sheds from scratch just because he feels like it.
This whole thing has given me a new passion for seeing, for praying that blindness be removed from my life, and from yours. It’s debilitating and slows you down. It stops you in your tracks. It keeps you from getting things done. Worst of all, it hides from you the goodness of God.
Flickr Photo (CC) courtesy of left-hand