Friday, May 28, 2010

The wisdom to know the difference

In the movie One True Thing, a Meryl Streep mother character advises the Renee Zellweger daughter, "It's so much easier to choose to love the things that you have, instead of always yearning for what you're missing."

I love that line. It expresses the essence of living in the moment, a goal toward which I continue to strive.

But what if the missing things you yearn for, you really could have? If what you have has slowly, steadily, imperceptibly eroded without your knowledge - and you could get it back?

As I type this, I am getting acquainted with a new lens inserted yesterday in my left eye, replacing the cataract-ridden model I was born with. The difference is astounding. Colors are vivid. The type on the computer screen is crisp and clear; I can read for the first time the words in the pastel colors youthful web art directors seem to fancy, clueless as to the audience they're turning away. (Or maybe a not-so-clueless geezer repellent - a topic for a different day....)

Through my right eye, I see my world as it was -- hazy, gauzy, yellowish-gray. Through my left, I see an entirely different place: vibrant and alive. Dirtier, too -- walking Otis this morning I saw more gunk on the sidewalk than seemed to be there yesterday. I'm getting up the nerve to go look at my kitchen counter....

The point being, my vision slipped away to yellow-gray slowly, silently, under my personal radar. What deficiency I noticed, I accepted as a penalty of having lived this long. I didn't exactly love the vision I had, and I did indeed yearn for what I was missing, but accepted what I had with appreciation for being able to see at all. I was more or less happily in Meryl Streep's acceptable moment.

Which in fact was not acceptable.

What else have I shrugged off and chosen to accept as it is, that could be better with a little effort (or in this case, a considerable sum of cash)?

What else has slipped away, little by little, without my consciousness, that I could sharpen back up?

Where's the line between appreciating the moment, and consciously working toward improvement?

I don't have an answer. But I'm not choosing to love the gauzy view from my right eye any more. Surgery to replace that lens will be scheduled at the first possible instant.

And now, about that kitchen counter....


nocomplaints said...

I could have read another 10,000 pages of your perspective, Linda. When you write your book, may I please be your personal assistant on your book tour?

Linda said...

That would be a very easy job, managing all four people who might show up for my book tour!