I was thinking today about how happy I am and how perfect my life is. I am so incredibly blessed. For a minute, the thought came to my mind that my life would be perfect if I was not losing my vision. Just as quickly, I realized that perhaps my life is perfect BECAUSE I am losing my vision.
All my life, I have felt dissatisfied. I always was looking ahead to the next stage of life, thinking that whatever happened next would finally bring me happiness. I felt vaguely restless, vaguely anxious, vaguely unhappy with my life at every stage. I knew I had been given many blessings, but they were never enough to satisfy my hunger for more.
Several events led me to realize how short life is, how grateful I was to have my husband and children, how my attitude was leading me down a path to sorrow and darkness. One of these events, my diagnosis with myopic macular degeneration, really forced me to make a choice. I could spend the majority of my time feeling sorry for myself, dwelling on the eyesight I had lost, mired in sadness and hopelessness. I was given the grace to look down that path and see that it would lead me to a life of bitterness and isolation and unhappiness. The other choice was to spend the majority of my time feeling grateful for my life, dwelling on all the joys I have, focusing on positive thoughts and looking at the future optimistically. Again, grace opened my eyes to look down that path and see light and life and happiness all along the way.
I am walking on that path of light. I know that I am blessed, that I am lucky, that I have been given great gifts. Would I know these things if the ax had not fallen, if the doctor had not talked to me about central vision loss, if I had not seen so clearly that the only choice I was being given was that of choosing my attitude? I wonder. I suppose that the change could have come, little by little, a slow and steady trickle of realization. Instead, my eyes were opened all at once by a radical movement of grace. I made my choice and that choice has given my feet wings, made my heart light, opened my mind to opportunity. There are two great gifts of walking this path. First, the gift of noticing grace all around me. Second, the gift of gratitude.
I am grateful every single day for these two gifts. And, realistically, I don’t know whether I would have been able to receive them into my life in any other way than by being faced with this choice. So, today I realized that I do not believe that my life would be perfect if I was not losing my vision. Instead, I believe that my life is perfect in spite of losing my vision. I might even go so far as to say that my life is perfect because of losing my vision. That is radical grace.