Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it has been about two weeks since I last wrote about my double vision problems.  I figured that, just because I have to live with it every single day of my life, doesn’t mean that you have to as well!  However, in my last post (this one) I mentioned how I had found some eye exercises I was going to try, in order to strengthen my eye muscles.  I also had found that patching the good eye for a certain period a day was also supposed to force the troubled eye to get stronger.  So, with a little mustard seed of faith, I plunged into my new regimen.

After having done these things for a while, I noticed that I could get the TV screen to be one, but only for a few minutes and then it would separate again, very much like the picture at the top. But I kept trying.  And I put a patch in one side of clear glasses and would wear them from time to time.  The problem with that is that I very often watch TV and read at the same time and I also need reading glasses.  As for driving, I CAN NOT drive without one side of my sunglasses being patched.  The double vision is very sensitive to light and motion.  A couple of times I’ve peeked out from under the sunglasses while driving to “test” my eyes and immediately found myself veering into another lane!  Bad idea!

Two weeks ago I was going to meet my friend, Dee, for lunch.  Before I met her, I went for groceries, wearing the patched sunglasses.  Then I drove downtown, still wearing the patched  sunglasses.  This was longer than I usually wore them.  While we were sitting in the restaurant, it suddenly occurred to me that I was seeing only one of her!!!  It lasted a little longer than a couple of minutes and I was cautiously excited.  When she started to divide, I quickly did the far/near exercise and could get her back.  All through our visit this happened and I drove home thinking maybe I had made a breakthrough. That night, however, I could only get two TVs, no matter how I tried.

Then last week I met my friend Charles for lunch and the same thing happened.  The period of seeing one of him didn’t quite last as long, but that restaurant was a bit brighter, so that could have been a factor.

So here’s where I am now.  I’m in Limbo Land.  I’m able to have my moments of single vision and when that happens my heart leaps with joy.  Unfortunately, I also have too many times when things are just as they always were and nothing works to change it.  Walking outside to the mailbox is still like being on some drug trip, with two sidewalks and double cars going by.  Charles thinks the little good spells mean that I’m getting better and I want to believe it.  But, for crying out loud, why can’t I get more and better results?  Why don’t the good spells last longer?  I can “feel” my eyes trying to focus sometimes from near to far and back, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?  And when I go through a period when I absolutely can’t get the single vision, it hits me hard and I feel so depressed.  Lately, it seems like the bad times are outweighing the good ones.  At this point I just don’t know what to do.  I see my endocrinologist today for an update on the Grave’s disease, but last time he didn’t seem all that interested in my eyes.  (Of course, HE can see normally!)  Anyway, he was starting to recommend an ophthalmologist, but I told him I already had one.  Maybe I’ll ask for the name today anyway.  Is there any doctor on earth who wants to cure me?

I guess I’ll just have to keep on keeping on…and hang onto my little mustard seed and hope for a miracle.


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I keep telling myself that if life were easy all the time we wouldn’t really appreciate the good normal times.  Yup, that’s what I keep telling myself.  However I must admit that lately I feel a bit like that little guy on the left.

Anyway, when I last left you, I was going to try to adjust to some prisms put in plain glasses to make my double vision easier to handle.  Unfortunately, one of the prisms was the wrong number (they don’t make the number I need,) so what I ended up with was extremely blurry vision.  It was a total bust.  $20 for the plain glasses (my ophthalmologist got me a deal) and $35 for each prism, none of this covered by my insurance because I didn’t take the vision plan.  $90 for more frustration.  Lovely.

About this time I came upon the Bible verse, Matthew 17:20 that ends …”If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  Well, I started out this ordeal having loads and loads of big-time faith and was totally sure that I’d be cured almost immediately.  After days and weeks went by, it became harder to maintain that enthusiasm.  But seeing this verse last Monday felt like a message.  I needed to start over with faith as a grain of mustard seed, not as a big honking elephant in a parade.  So I did.  Baby steps.

I happened to be searching Google images later that day when I saw a page with the word “diplopia.”  (For those of you new here, that means “double vision.”  That’s your new word for the day!)  Anyway I followed the link and ended up on a page that was talking about eye patches.  It said for double vision to be sure to wear the patch on the good eye, so that the muscles of the troubled eye would have to work harder and get stronger.  My eye doctor had said that my right eye had the most inflamed muscles and the fact they couldn’t track with the left eye was what made my vision double.

Right then I had an epiphany. All this time I’ve been thinking that my eye muscles must still be inflamed, despite the fact that I’ve been on one of the most powerful steroids you can take for a month and a half.  But, reading this made me realize that perhaps the inflammation has gone down, but that the muscles, which haven’t been doing anything for almost three months, are just very weak.  That happens with muscles in your body if you don’t use them.  Right? About then an imaginary light appeared above my head.  “Hark!  What is yonder light?  Could it be the slightest glimmer of, dare I say it? HOPE?  Methinks it could be!”  I immediately removed the prisms from the plain glasses and put black paper in the left side, determined the wear them at least an hour a day, if not more, to start to strengthen those muscles.

As I continued to read, I found some exercises to strengthen eye muscles.  Two of them didn’t make much sense to me.  But one of them was tantalizing.  In it, you concentrate on something, like a pen, that’s six inches from your eyes, for five seconds.  Then you glance at something twenty feet away for five seconds, then back for five seconds, then far, etc., etc.  You do this twenty times several times a day.  I tried it, staring at a pen, then glancing at the television.  And for the FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME there was only ONE television!  I was so excited that I held it too long and the TV morphed back into two.  I do this kind of thing all day every day now.  Sometimes it works beautifully and sometimes not so much, especially outside.  I still can’t drive with both eyes.  And I still can’t seem to manage to watch a whole show on TV without seeing double.  But I won’t give up. The fact that it works even sometimes, is encouraging.  It takes time for weak muscles to strengthen and I’ve only been doing the patch glasses and exercises a few days.

It may be nothing.  But hey, it could be something…okay a very tiny something…maybe something just about the size of a mustard seed?

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I feel that God and I have a great relationship.  I talk to him every morning out on my balcony while the moon and stars are still dotting the sky and feel a closeness to Him like nothing else.

I’ve always felt very blessed because when I have a crisis or am concerned for a loved one, I simply pray for help and God always comes through for me.  This has happened more times than I can count, and I’ve always been grateful.

Then this double vision nightmare hit me and the first thing I did was turn to God, praying for a cure.  And yet morning after morning I’ve woken up, filled with hope, only to discover that I’m still seeing the world in double.  I have to admit, it has been discouraging and there have been times when I wondered if God was punishing me for something.  But what?

Then, when all the tests showed I have Grave’s Disease, I figured the double vision was God’s way of leading me to the proper medications to get it under control.  But still, the double vision persists.  The specialist I saw last week put me on a corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation of my eye muscles.  He thinks it will work on the double vision, but might take as long as two weeks.  This is my seventh week of living this way.  Maybe the eighth week will be the charm?  If the steroids don’t work, I’ll have to have surgery.

This all reminds me of a saying I once heard – “Faith isn’t faith until it has been tested.” Well, my faith is being tested like never before.  And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, I feel like God is healing my eyes, even as I write this.  And one day very soon I will wake up and see the world as it really is.  And it will be like this great big present from God, all tied up in a giant red bow!   And I will dance and praise God and be filled with so much joy that my body won’t be able to contain it all!

But until that happy day… all I can do…is try to be brave and to keep the faith…no matter what.

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The “Catch 22” to Faith

I’m a big advocate of having faith in God, not because I’m some crazy-eyed Bible beater, but because I’ve seen it work miracles in my life so many times.  It took me a long time in my life to even understand exactly what faith actually is.  My stepmother made me go to church Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesdays and all those church people were just full of religious sayings about faith.  As a matter of fact, they were full of all kinds of religious sayings, which they spouted with a righteousness that was downright off-putting.  After awhile it became clear to me, after seeing how they lived their lives, that it wasn’t what they said that mattered to them, but how they said it and how often. Thus, all the phrases became meaningless to me.

Years later, as I was becoming more spiritual, as opposed to religious, I’d ponder phrases like “Let go and let God,”  trying to figure out exactly how that worked.  Finally I realized that that IS what faith is. It is a complete letting go.  It wasn’t until I was in what seemed like a hopeless situation at one point in my life that I completely handed everything over to God.  I was physically and emotionally exhausted from worrying.  I had prayed and prayed and worried and worried and nothing happened.  But the moment I gave up all control, with faith that God would handle it, He did.  And he did it in a miraculous way.

After telling a friend about this experience, she said to me, “I wish something dramatic like that would happen to me.”  When I asked her why, she said, “because then it would be easy to have faith in God.”  The problem with this kind of thinking is that it implies that God needs to prove Himself to us, rather than vice-versa.  In my mind, all one needs to do is look around – at the world, the skies, the stars, healthy children, a working brain, etc., etc., etc., to see evidence of God’s presence in this world.

But despite the fact that I’m comfortable with the fact that God exists, exercising faith is not always easy.  Lately I was faced with two concerns.  One involved a friend of mine who had just survived one medical crisis, only to be faced with another.  The other was a situation that was making me very unhappy, over which I had no control.  In both cases, I would pray to God for positive outcomes.  I would tell Him I had faith that everything would be fine.  But I was cheating, because later I’d find myself worrying about these problems.  And that’s the “Catch 22” about faith.  You have to give your problem to the Lord and then let go completely, knowing that He will handle it.  (See?  That’s the faith part!) Thank Him in advance for “this or something better, Lord.” Yeah, I know.  That’s really stepping out into the unknown, but you know what?  When I do it right, it works every time.

My two problems?  Both have resulted in the best possible outcomes and I am filled with gratitude.  I suppose that’s what prompted me to write this post.  It never hurts to let people know that you don’t have to be Billy Graham or Mother Teresa for faith to work miracles in your life.  You just have to be willing to try.  One of my favorite quotes, which has been attributed to both Edward Teller and Patrick Overton, goes something like this:

“When you come to the edge of all the light you have known,
and are about to step into the darkness,
FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen…
There will be something to stand on,
or you will be taught to fly.”

Star Signature

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I’ve noticed a very strange phenomenon lately.  I live in a house, surrounded by trees on three sides, and during the summer those trees come alive with birds singing their little hearts out.  As a matter of fact, I remember one time last summer when I was trying to read out on the balcony and the birds were making such a racket that I couldn’t concentrate!  It was like they were performing in some sort of “Avian Idol” show, each trying to out-sing the next.  mockBut, that’s  normal. That’s what you expect on a bright glorious summer day.

But there’s one bird, one solitary bird, who sings in the dead of night – not an owl or a mourning dove or a mockingbird, but a song bird, like you’d expect to hear on a sunny day.  And, what’s even weirder is that this bird started doing this back in February!  I remember waking up in the middle of the night and hearing it singing away somewhere close, and the ground was covered with snow! It was a really disconcerting feeling because you just don’t expect to hear that in the black of night.  I worried that he might freeze to death, but apparently he didn’t, because the serenading has continued.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m starting to view that little bird as a symbol of faith.  I mean, here was this bird, perched on a limb in freezing temperatures, in the dark, singing the cheeriest song you could imagine.  It made me think of the Bible verse in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It seems apt, somehow.  An even better quote I found for this situation was by Rabindranath Tagor – “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”

I like to think this bird knows something I don’t know.  The world lately often seems dark, what with the poor economy, illness, violence and wars.  But maybe, just maybe, we’re about to turn a corner.  There’s an old English proverb that goes, “Fear knocked at the door and faith answered.  No one was there.” I like that.  I like that a lot.  So maybe I, too, should strengthen my faith, and have a happy heart for good things to come.

I guess I don’t have to ask “for whom the bird sings…”

It sings for me.


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This day is about so much more than candy, bunnies and Easter bonnets…


Wishing you and yours a joyous Easter Day.


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Uh God, Can We Talk?

Dear God,

I just finished reading an article in this week’s Newsweek that has gotten me to thinking.  They say that in a 2005 poll, only half of Americans think of resurrection as a physical event.  They think of it more as something spiritual, as the soul rises to heaven.  Okay, I’m down with that.

But the thing is, God, I guess there’s a real movement among orthodox Christian and Jewish scholars in which they maintain that resurrection is “a physical transformation – a literal reversal of death.”  In other words, they believe that in heaven we’ll have the same fleshly bodies we had on earth!  Furthermore, the article goes on to say, “For the faithful to be faithful, these proponents argue, they must believe, wholly and without hairsplitting, in resurrection as the reunion of an individual’s body and soul at the end of time – a miracle of God.”  And these scholars go on to say that if you don’t believe in miracles, then you can’t declare yourself a person of faith!  Well, I’m sorry, but that’s a bit much!

Okay, first off, Lord, let’s get one thing out of the way.  I am a person of faith.  I do believe in miracles, including the ones in the Bible.  I believe Jesus turned water into wine and raised Lazarus from the dead.  I don’t have a problem with those. (By the way, some of your children think those were just stories, but not ME, God.  I’m your good kid.  I’ve seen what You can do!  So please bear that in mind when the time comes!)

light_being_lgBut, this other idea?  Well, we’ve gotta talk.  I do believe that “whosoever believeth in You shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  But, God?  Resurrected with our same bodies?  I think not! I mean, I know that this is just some scholars’ opinion and they can’t really prove anything unless they’re dead, and then it’s too late. But the idea just bugs me!  So, this is MY opinion. I’ve always seen Heaven as a perfect place – not a place where we’ll be dragging along the same old container we’ve had all the time we were on earth!  I mean that just doesn’t make sense!  I believe that what really matters is the soul.  I’ve always envisioned a Heaven in which we’d be these lovely “beings of light,” freed from our earthly shackles.  I mean, we’ll be on a higher plane and all that.  And in that higher, blissful existence, we won’t need bodies.  I bet that’s really how it’s going to be…right, God?  No muss, no fuss, just flitting around as joyful beings of light?  It’s a beautifully elegant solution.  And I’m pretty sure that’s the way it will be.  But I did want to double-check it with You.  Oh, and one last thing, God – if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, when my time comes, I’d really, really like for MY light to be pink! (If that’s okay with you and all. But, white’s good, too.)

Yours always,


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