Change the Lens
In 9th grade, my favorite class was English. I had an amazing teacher that I still think of fondly. He was the first teacher I had after transitioning to public school for high school that paid attention to me and thought that my opinions, especially about books we were reading, were great and he encouraged me to write my opinions into essays. Because of him, I always have had a real love for writing and sharing my thoughts.
During this year in his class, I found myself reading more books than I typically would. I would finish the assigned novels ahead of everyone else, so he would give me another one to read during our allotted reading time in class. Because of this, I started to get headaches and eventually made my way to the eye doctor where they basically prescribed me reading glasses. I remember putting them on for the first time and realizing how different my perspective was now that the words were seemingly so much bigger on the page.
They were the same size. The words weren’t actually bigger. They just seemed bigger because I was now wearing glasses. I had changed the lens. When I changed the lens, reading was easier and less painful.
Of course, there were days when I forgot my glasses and the headaches would return. Reading would become harder and more painful and I wouldn't want to do it. I'd want to close my eyes, instead.
Changing the lens of the vision of my LIFE is exactly what I have had to do in the last year and a half.
Recently, I was at the doctor’s office to get the Rhogam shot after our latest pregnancy loss. There was a woman in the waiting room with her approximately two-year-old daughter and she was pregnant. Immediately, my mind went to what I could see in front of me; she had exactly what I SHOULD have. If my life looked like what I thought it would after I got married, I would have what she currently has. If Frankie had made it and our second pregnancy had made it, I’d be in that waiting room wearing the same shoes as her. We’d be walking the same path of motherhood.
But, we’re not.
And I immediately, but extremely briefly, hated her for it.
It was in that instant that I thought, “Tay, you are in control of the way you are looking at this. She does not deserve to be judged by you. You don’t know her story at all.”
My imagination then went wild. I started to rewrite the narrative of her life in my mind, even though I don’t know her.
I thought about the babies she may have lost before the babies I could see there with her.
I thought about the children her parents could have lost.
I thought about the nieces or nephews she may be missing.
Her story was now endless. Her story was now like mine.
I changed the lens.
I saw myself in her current situation a few years down the road. I saw myself in a waiting room four or five years from now sitting across a younger version of myself- a Mom grieving her babies lost while I’m chasing a couple of my own trying to keep them quiet til we’re called back by the nurse.
I saw myself ten years from now with kids running all through my kitchen. With sticky floors, gum stuck in someone’s hair, the dog chasing little ones through the yard, me screaming because someone didn’t put their legos away again and they’re now painfully embedded in the soles of my feet.
I saw myself waking up early to sweat and recalling the mornings when I would sleep in late and cry through my workouts because I missed my babies and wasn’t sure what the future held for me as a Mom.
I changed the lens.
A nurse came to the door and called the woman in the waiting room's name. As she got up and walked to the door, she gave me a small smile. The nurse picked up her little girl and gave her a hug and immediately I knew in my gut that this woman has a history with these people.
Maybe one of those stories I "made up" in my imagination about her was actually God showing me life through her lens for a moment.
Faith has the ability to do that for us. It gives us the ability to see what isn’t right in front of us. It gives us the ability to praise Him for what he has promised, even though we cannot see it just yet.
Just like those days when I forgot my glasses, sometimes I also forget to change the lens of my life. Those days, it's harder to go on. It's more painful to do the every day tasks because I am only seeing what is right in front of me in this moment instead of what is waiting for me in my future.
We are in control of the lens.
We have to remember to change it.