My daughter has been complaining about eye issues for years. We have brought her to several different eye doctors and the consensus was the same every time. She has 20/20 vision. Everything looks good. Perfect, to be precise. A teacher that has been working closely with her for the past year and a half, recommended an ocular specialist to look a little deeper into what was going on inside of those windows into her soul.
It took a long time. The doctor was pulling all sorts of Marry Poppins tricks out of her bag, about to come to the same conclusion as all the doctors before her. Avery’s vision was beyond perfect. Her eyes were so well-engaged with every random dot and pen put in front of her face, even the doctor almost missed it.
Until my sweet girl broke down, just tears pouring down her face, exhausted from the dozens of tests she was passing with flying colors. It was right then the doctor breathed a heavy sigh, “There it is,” she said with relief, “We found it.”
It took the doctor over two and half hours of having Avery jump through every visual hoop imaginable before her eyes could finally un-focus. And then they couldn’t focus at all. On anything.
Healthy eyes know when something is within the space that they need to focus on. They focus on that particular object, be it near or far, and un-focus on everything else. Avery’s eyes never stop focusing. The doctor described her eyes as having a visual charlie horse. There were locked into taking in every possible detail from near, far and all of her periphery.
After years of being told she needed to try harder, stay focused, pay attention, this doctor said, “We need to help your eyes relax so you can put all your attention to learning instead of looking.” This is when she really started to cry. Avery is the hardest worker I have ever met. But it was never going to be enough, and now, this highly trained professional was saying, “You don’t have to try so hard anymore.”
Focusing has been one of my superpowers this year. The only way to get anything done is for me to choose what my one thing is and stick to it until it’s done or I’m done. I remember getting upset one day about something that had happened at school and I was very aware that I was not willing to give up my one thing for that one thing. It was annoying situation, but it was not a worthy place to use up my focus. Learning to let those things blur into the background of my vision is a tremendous challenge. For people like Avery and me, learning to let go of what is not supposed to be in focus, that is our real work.
The doctor gave Avery some eye drops to relax her focusing center. The calm that came over her was visible, she practically melted into her chair.
Maybe that is what these 30 days of Rest are for, relaxing my focusing center.
While I have some ideas of where my focus really does belong, today they are still a little to far out in the distance for me to see. Today, I just want to melt into my chair and enjoy not focusing on anything at all.