It was HOT. The little lap pool at the marina we were staying at was filled with people bobbing up and down in its 4ft depths. As we hunkered into the cool water to escape the heat of the day, conversations and introductions flowed easily with our fellow marina guests. One of my favorite things about boating is all the people you meet and the stories they have to share. I was taking in one such story when I heard the strangest thing from across the pool.
“May I clean your glasses for you?” I thought I heard the young man ask. I was not the only one startled and perplexed. A bit of a nervous giggle could be heard as someone asked him if he was serious. Yes, indeed this young man was serious and he had a wipe and glass cleaner in hand to prove it. Imagine that! One of the marina’s dock attendants was squatting down at the pools edge offering to simply clean glasses. This was possibly the nicest/oddest service I have ever seen offered at any establishment.
One pool guest tentatively handed him her sunglasses. He quickly sprayed, wiped, and returned them to her. As he made his way around the pool, many were taking him up on his kind offer. When he came to me, I politely declined. I was wearing my reading glasses and enjoying a good book by the pool, and felt I did not need them cleaned. I quickly regretted my choice.
My daughter gave him her sunglasses next. I think she was a bit embarrassed to have someone wait on her for such a small need, that is until she put the cleaned glasses back on. “Wow, what a difference!” she exclaimed. That’s when I started noticing everyone one in the pool talking about how much better they could see and laughing at the realization they had been looking through such dirty lenses. Sea salt, sweat, and suntan lotion probably coated most of our glasses. As others around me marveled at their new “outlook” on life, I was suddenly keenly aware of the various smudges and streaks that hampered my vision.
What kept me from experiencing greater clarity? Maybe I was in denial about my need to have my glasses cleaned. Had I grown accustomed to reading through my filthy lenses, unable to perceive the need? Maybe I was just too unprepared for the offer. Having never heard someone offer to clean my glasses ever before, was I too slow to process and respond appropriately? Maybe I was too prideful. Why should I let someone else clean my glasses when I am perfectly capable to take care of such things on my own? Sometimes I think I respond to God in a simialr fashion.
I once heard someone describe coming to know God’s forgiveness and grace as “having a veil pulled back.” Have I allowed the burden of my sins to obscure my view? God’s grace is sufficient and His forgiveness complete, yet sometimes we walk around with guilt and shame, unable to see all God has in store for us.
There was a popular song years ago called “My Father’s Eyes” which spoke of the desire to see the world and those around us the way God sees them. Do I see others as He sees them, with grace and compassion? Have I allowed life’s circumstance to form a distorting barrier over my eyes, making it difficult to recognize what is Truth?
As I write this, I am straining through reading glasses that once again need cleaning. I am thinking how much easier typing will be after I remove a few persistent smudges. How much easier would life be if I asked God for such clarity? While wiping the oily film from my lenses I ask God to help me see His will for my life. I ask Him to help me see those around me as He would. I ask Him to remove the things that cloud my vision. I want to see Him.
“But whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away…”
Each time we don a pair of reading or sunglasses may we be
reminded, God is asking, “May I clean your glasses for you?”