shoreOn a recent Thursday night, I was standing near the door at my teenage sons’ basketball game. My daughter was building a fort near the bleachers in one corner of the gym while my three-year-old son rolled a tennis ball on the sidelines with my husband. Long-legged and skinny, the boys tore up court, white and blue jerseys flashing, crowd cheering. It was then that I noticed a friend standing near the doors. Beside her were her parents.

“Hi,” I said, heading over.

The conversation quickly and unexpectedly went from basketball to cataracts. My friend’s mother had gone for surgery more than a decade before. Yet the transformation was so vivid, she shared it with me.

“Everything sparkled,” she said of life after her replacement lenses. “Before everything was covered by a gray haze, a blur. I couldn’t see anything clearly, but I’d grown so accustomed to it, I didn’t realize how bad my eyesight had gotten. After my surgery, I couldn’t believe how bright and beautiful everything looked again.”

Long after my family had piled into the van for the cold, January ride home, this woman’s words remained.

How often do we lose our vision?

Are we looking at the world through damaged lenses?

Does life appear as a hazy blur?

Cataract surgery is now common, but there’s only One who can restore the eyes of the spirit.

“You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons,” Isaiah 42:7 says of the Promised One.

Four times the Gospels recount Christ healing those who were blind.

But Isaiah’s words refer to another kind of blindness as well: when life has lost it’s lustre, when the way seems blurry and unclear, when the world no longer appears beautiful. Sometimes the change has occurred so slowly we’re not even aware of what we’ve lost.

In my own life, I experienced this after the devastating death of my seven-year-old daughter, Ruth. We’d adopted her from a Ugandan orphanage, given her everything we could,  loved her as well as we’d could. And still we’d lost her. What was the point of even living?

Yet, eyes are made to look outward not in a mirror.

This week will mark two years since we lost Ruth. In that time I’ve discovered more about the cause of her disabilities–cerebral palsy and hearing loss among them. And the more families I meet with children like Ruth–children whose lives and bodies, like hers, were sabotaged by a little-known condition called kernicterus–the more reason I see to keep loving, keep sharing, keep telling Ruth’s story. In these children, I glimpse the sparkle that shone so clearly in Ruth.

Every day is a new opportunity to see–a chance to have your vision restored.