I was getting ready one morning, a few days before a weekend event that required me to be at full strength, when I lost my right contact lens.
I can’t see a thing without eye correction. I have fairly new glasses, and I wear them at home at night. But I chose the frames rather hurriedly and always wished I had picked a different pair. I’d certainly never wear them to a public function that involved a lot of personal interaction, at least not voluntarily.
So finding that contact was imperative.
And also impossible.
The problem was that I didn’t know when I first realized it was gone. I know this sounds crazy, but I get up early and my eyes sometimes take awhile to get used to being open. That’s what I thought was going on at first, thus the fuzzy timeline.
We launched a full-scale search-and-rescue operation. But not even daughter Molly, whose crawling-around-on-the-floor method often works, could find the lost lens.
I kept praying that I would suddenly notice the contact somewhere, but no avail. It had disappeared into thin air.
Groaning and kicking myself, I called the eye doctor and ordered a new lens. Then I spent the next several hours trying not to let this inconvenience wreck my whole day.
I know, it’s silly and shallow and immature. But sometimes I let the dumbest things affect my overall outlook on life, which in turn affects the overall outlook of everyone around me. I default to letting my circumstances rule my feelings, instead of focusing on the good around me.
This time, though, I decided to do as Robert Frost famously advised in his poem “The Road Not Taken.” I’m not kidding—I actually had conversations like this throughout the day:
Just be grateful you have nice glasses to wear, Lois—take the road less traveled by, I told myself.
Smile, Lois—it’s just a contact. Nobody’s sick, nobody’s hurt. Take the road less traveled by—just do it.
Though I still felt like I was wearing bulky safety goggles, the pep talks did help some.
The insignificance of my problem was further amplified later in the day when news broke about the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, Calif.
Suddenly, fretting about a missing contact seemed very petty indeed.
Still, I was thrilled when the new lens came in the very next day. But then I discovered another problem. When I put in both of my contacts, I could hardly see out of the old one.
This was odd, but I thought maybe wearing the new one just highlighted how dirty the old one was. So I went back to the eye doctor to have it cleaned.
That’s when the truth was finally revealed.
When the optician started scrubbing the lens, she discovered it was actually two contacts stuck together. For some bizarre reason—and for the first time in 30 years of wearing gas permeable contacts—I had put both lenses in the same eye.
No wonder I couldn’t see!
Later, as I ran errands and started looking forward to the weekend once again, I put together a short list of takeaways from this eye-opening experience:
• Searching for something that isn’t there is an exercise in futility.
• Two contacts in one eye do not make your vision twice as good.
• Sometimes, what you think is the problem is not the problem at all.
• Self-absorption has a funny way of fading away when real tragedy strikes. Or at least it should.
• When life throws you an inconvenient curveball, you can resist your default reaction and take the road less traveled by instead. And that really does make a difference.
• Life’s too short to settle for glasses you don’t really like.
P.S. Linking up this week with Christy Mobley at #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Lyli Dunbar at #ThoughtProvoking Thursday, Missional Women and Grace & Truth.